Srebryanskaya N.A. English War Discourse: Diachronic Aspect


Natalia A. Srebryanskaya

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Department of the English Language, Voronezh State Pedagogical University

Lenina St., 86, 394043 Voronezh, Russia

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Abstract. The article considers the features of English military discourse development over several centuries (11 th –21 st centuries). Particular attention is paid to modern signs of the war discourse, which is treated as a part of political discourse. The material for diachronic analysis is represented with the written sources of ancient and Middle English epics. Modern English military discourse is considered on the basis of media publications. Historical sources give information about the methods of waging war with the use of steel and firearms, its scale, and the heroism of warriors. The analysis undertaken has made it possible to single out the features of modern English discourse of war: the use of euphemisms, numerous neologisms and techniques of speech manipulation. Euphemisms are often represented with lexemes from dictionary entries referring to the word war or lexical substitutes with the most generalized non-specific semantics. Neologisms of military discourse arise as a result of linguistic and extralinguistic factors. Linguistic factors are the creation and use of euphemisms for statements about the unsightly facts of war. Extralinguistic factors include the emergence of new types of warfare and military technology. Some new types of warfare that use information technology are considered. Conclusions concerning international character of military terminology and rapid development of war discourse at present are drawn in the article.

Key words: discourse, war discourse, diachrony, lexis, synonymy, euphemism, neologism, language manipulation.

Citation. Srebryanskaya N.A. English War Discourse: Diachronic Aspect. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2020, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 97-106. (in Russian). DOI:

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