The relevance of letters to the editor (LTE) calls for more research on the linguistic construction of their newsworthiness, particularly when letters are used to foster debate on controversial issues. The connection between newsworthiness and the language of evaluation has been studied quite extensively using corpora (Hunston 2011; Bednarek – Caple 2019). However, limited research has been performed on corpora of LTE to investigate their linguistic features (Pounds 2006; Romova – Hetet 2012). A small but significant corpus of LTE of The Times written between 1914 and 1926 on the Armenian question was selected to investigate their evaluative patterns of newsworthiness. Word frequency, collocational patterns, clusters of evaluative lexico-grammatical items and their semantic connotation were examined, also in relation to elements of the grammar of modality, with a specific focus on the evaluative adjective “possible” in its attributive and predicative uses. Understanding the linguistic strategies that contributed to keep alive the debate on those events provides further insights into the acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide.
May 16, 2022