International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 10 Issue 1 (June 2000), Pages 3-158

The blending of narrative and argument in the generic texture of newspaper editorials (pages 25-39)

This paper is a study in textural mode analysis (TMA). It examines the generic discourse texture of a set of editorials from the London Times and Guardian, on the topic of the British General Election of May 1997. It describes how the texture of the set can be accounted for in terms of just three representational textural modes– narrative, description and argument – and shows how argument predominates in the editorial genre. Toulmin's influential rhetorical model of argumentation, consisting of grounds, claims and warrants, is used and related to the realisation of argument mode through a number of functions, namely hypotheses, predictions, evaluations and assertions. The last of these frequently perform an ideological role in editorial discourse, via unmodalized assertions. The extremely common blending of textural modes by means of linear and layered blending is brought out, particularly through a ‘case study’of one of the editorials.

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