|dc.description.abstract||In previous studies on the linguistic properties of propaganda, Critical Discourse Analysis is mostly used and the focus is therefore on the analysis of a specific text and power relations. The linguistic properties of propaganda are often examined as part of propaganda in general and a formal linguistic study is not conducted. In this study, the general linguistic properties of propaganda are investigated and an alternative theoretical framework to Critical Discourse Analysis is therefore employed. A provisional model is compiled by using previously identified linguistic properties of propaganda as well as potentially new properties as presented by certain linguistic structures in Systemic Functional Linguistics. These linguistic structures can be examined with the help of the metafunctions. By doing this, the specific functions of language in respect of propaganda can be approached within a broader model of language functions in general.
To ensure, as far as it is possible, that linguistic properties do not form part of the propaganda identification process only to subsequently deduce corresponding linguistic conclusions therefrom, texts are divided into propaganda or non-propaganda with the help of a non-linguistic propaganda identification model. This model is developed as part of the study. It consists of propaganda properties with regard to content and also makes use of certain conceptual tools from narratology. By using content aspects of propaganda to identify texts as propaganda or non-propaganda, the structural part is set aside to enable a linguistic analysis on propaganda texts as well as non-propaganda texts acting as a control group. By double checking the linguistic findings in propaganda texts against non-propaganda texts, the study’s reliability is heightened: One can therefore confirm that certain linguistic elements that are said to be properties of propaganda are genuinely characteristic of propaganda and do therefore not present themselves in non-propaganda texts or in the same format as in propaganda texts. In this study, texts thematically centred on the previous South African President, Jacob Zuma, are used for analysis with a specific focus on the Nkandla and state capture cases. The controversial nature of these cases provides a rich and divided context where propaganda and non-propaganda were certain to exist. After the completion of the study, a revised version of the provisional linguistic model is provided by presenting the linguistic properties of propaganda. The non-linguistic propaganda identification model as well as the linguistic model can both be used in future to identify and analyse texts as propaganda. Salient conclusions can be summarised as follows: Nouns carry a high meaning potential and can therefore, like adjectives, be used to evaluate certain phenomena or individuals in propaganda. Nouns and adjectives are regularly used to instantiate certain propaganda techniques, e.g., tagging and polarising. Nouns and adjectives can often be used in collocations, sometimes with the help of lexical cohesion, to intensify negative or positive forms. National forms as a type of descriptive noun and/or adjective can be used to label someone. A propagandist can use non-specific quantifiers to create the illusion of certainty. On the other hand, specific quantifiers can be used to copy scientific or media discourse and in so doing, creating or fabricating a semblance of credibility and reliability. Pronouns and especially possessive pronouns can be used in propaganda to polarise and to, by doing this, deflecting negative attention. Referential cohesion can therefore be used for similar propaganda techniques. Although verbs do not command the same semantic impact or “power” as nouns and adjectives do, it can still be a useful tool for dysphemism: By presenting a person’s actions in a specific way, the acting person is directly associated with something ominous. Adverbials can contribute to this type of dysphemism by presenting an intensified idea of the act and as a result, of the actor. When adverbs are studied from within the interpersonal metafunction, it can be used for Sophistic reasoning. A propagandist can use modality to present statements as being uncertain, but can also be used to obligate the target audience into supporting the propagandist’s case. Metaphors reaching further than the conventional use of metaphors, play an important role in propaganda and can especially be used for techniques such as dysphemism and euphemism. These techniques can also be implemented, with the help of metaphors, to highlight or hide certain aspects of a case and can be used to mislead readers. The three most prominent metaphors in the propaganda texts are: war, mystification, and the abject or grotesque.||en_US