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Analysis of certain grammatical forms like passive constructions, nominalization, strategies of replacement and distancing strategies draw special attention due to their role in “framing” effect. Although one cannot simply read off ideological meaning from grammatical forms, it has been proven through discourse analysis that rhetorical strategies are invisible weapons in media ‘empty’ (read ‘false’) reporting.

In this episode a journalist Ksenia Turkova focuses on examples of passivization and nominalization in political discourse.

Passivization has a number of effects. While it obscures the agency and focuses the attention of the reader on certain themes at the expense of others, it also permits to remove reference to the causing agent or drop out the agents of actions altogether. This rhetorical strategy may also be simply a clever way not to assign (or admit) responsibility.

Nominalizations (when one turns a verb into a noun) conceals the action in a noun, and requires the audience to “translate” the sentence into more easily comprehensible story, and thus makes the message seem obscure. Employing too many nominalizations can be used  to ‘hide’ the agents of unpopular measures undertaken by government and to represent the whole case as something necessary and inevitable. 



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