A Critical Corpus- Based Analysis of the Words Muslim and Islamic Vs. Christian in Contemporary American English

Zaha Alanazi


The words Muslim and Islamic have recently become a recurrent theme in western media especially in the U.S. However, there is little research on how the words Muslim as opposed to Christian are represented in the US spoken and written media discourse. Utilizing the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), the current study investigated how Muslims and Christians are portrayed in U.S media outlets through a quantitative and a qualitative analysis of the lexical collocations of the words Muslim, Islamic and Christian. A threshold of Mutual Information (MI) score of at least 3. and 2% frequency was set for the candidate collocates. The results showed that the former group was largely associated with fanaticism and ethnicity while the other group was largely associated with knowledge and theology. A fine-grained analysis of a common collocate i.e., fundamentalist revealed striking differences between the characteristics of Muslim fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists in US media. The study highlights the value of corpus-based approaches in enhancing the objectivity of critical discourse analysis and pinpointing the lexical and grammatical patterns that contribute to biased mental construction of particular groups.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v13n2p200

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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