Newsworthiness and Emotivity

The Language of Evaluation in the Letters to the Editor of “The Times” on the Armenian Question in 1914-1926


  • Isabella Martini Università degli Studi di Firenze



Letters to the Editor, Corpus Linguistics, News Discourse, evaluation, historical English


In 1915 the echo of the Ottoman massacres of the Christian minorities living within the borders of the Empire reached the international press at once. The Times functioned as an English-language cross-cultural referential platform for its international readership, and regularly published letters to the editor reporting on the political and humanitarian events involving the Armenians. Those letters to the editor were written in English by notable authors from different national backgrounds and political appointments, including also Armenian notables and delegates. A corpus of letters to the editor of The Times was collected for the purpose of this study and examined through a corpus-driven and a corpus-assisted approach. This article focuses on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of recurring language of evaluation related to discursive news value analysis, with a specific focus on how the parameter of “emotivity” is expressed through the language used in the letters. This study attempts to explain the linguistic strategies through which a cross-cultural intersubjective connection with the readership of The Times was created, and it also attempts to clarify the textual strategies implemented in the letters to the editor of The Times to keep the Armenian events newsworthy.


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