Investigating Soft Power in the Discourse of Translated Opinion Articles in the Saudi Press.

  • Nahlah Alsheikh

Student thesis: Phd


This study aims to explore soft power representations in the English opinion articles published in the New York Times and their translations into Arabic published in Asharq Al-Awsat. This process seeks to understand the meanings of these representations in the selected original texts, and examining their parallel translations, in order to explore the extent of re-conveyance in the Arabic excerpts. To achieve this purpose, the methodology of the study is a combination of CDA’s textual framework (Fairclough, 2003) and Appraisal Theory functional approach (Martin & White, 2005). Due to the bilingual nature of the data, the analysis is done on two stages. First, for the original source excerpts, CDA’s textual framework was utilised to understand the ideational meanings, along with Appraisal Theory to explore their functional values and interpersonal meanings. Second, the analysis moves to examine the appraisal values in the translated instances in order to show the extent to which soft power is re-conveyed in the target articles. The analysis shows that there are instances in which soft power is increased, decreased, and maintained, with the last being the most common trend. The main finding reveals that the Arabic translations in Asharq Al-Awsat mostly preserve soft power aspects represented in the original excerpts. This supports the editorial policy of Asharq Al-Awsat in being inclined to portray positively the US, which significantly conforms to maintaining the Saudi-US relations. Besides, the analysis reveals the inevitable potential of utilising presupposition in supporting soft power representations through appraisal domains of engagement and judgement resources as the most employed values in both original and translated excerpts. The main contribution of this study is that it introduces a new methodological model about soft power in discourse analysis especially in the Arabic context. That is, this study contributes to the Arabic semantics from the Appraisal Theory perspective, which aims at enriching its lexical realizations with appraisal values. Moreover, it adds to the theory of soft power through bridging the missing link between discourse in its persuasive practices and soft power in its hegemonic purposes. Such an account contributes to form a functional approach to explore the values of persuasion in opinion discourse in general and soft power in particular. In addition, it sheds some light on translation behavior when dealing with soft power discourse from English into Arabic through applying appraisal domains.
Date of Award1 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorZahia Smail Salhi (Supervisor)


  • Soft power
  • Translation
  • Appraisal theory
  • Discourse analysis
  • CDA

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