Neoliberal Co-option of English: A Study of Urduized Terms in Pakistani Magazine Articles through Corpus Approaches

  • Fatima Tuz Zahra
  • Tehseen Zahra
  • Akhtar Abbas
Keywords: magazine articles, collocation networks, semantic macrostructures, social issues, neoliberalism


Discursive constructions of social values, culture, and ideology have been emerged as indigenized English in the countries remained British colonies in the past.  Linguistic representation of these constructions illustrates individual experiences filtered through cultural preferences. Discourse of the post-1947 context represented Urdu as a solid Muslim identity in both parts of British India (Rehman, 1990). This study aims to investigate English language as practiced in the news discourse. This study traced the emergence of local Urduized words in news reports published in local magazines of Pakistan. This investigation has moved away from traditional standard language concepts towards a closer alliance with the values and priorities of local news establishments in the wake of neoliberalism. Taking a corpus-based linguistic approach, this study examines the semantic macrostructures using van Dijk’s social cognitive model (1985) in the news discourse published in Pakistani newspapers. Blommaert's sociolinguistics theory (2010) was also used as an additional theory to realize the status of non-native varieties of English in global contexts. LancsBox tools (2021) were used to extract word lists and generate collocation networks of selected words. The study excluded the Urduized English words denoting names of persons, places, or things. The findings indicate that Magazine News Reports (MNR) corpora carried rich local Urduized vocabulary in almost all sections of MNR corpora. These words were Urduized in terms of local socio-cultural entities. In addition, the analysis reveals MNR Corpus’ tendency to emphasize the power of the local journalistic stories, depicting them as the true representative of local social identities and foregrounding the discourse of globalization.  The findings show that comparing and exploiting such naturalistic texts can help realize the potential of legitimizing local varieties of English (non-native) used in various parts of the world.


Abbas, A., Zahra, T. & Shehzad. (2022), Issues and Challenges in Legitimizing Localized English: A Critical Reappraisal of Native Speakerism in Pakistan, In English Language Teaching in Pakistan: Theory, Research and Pedagogy, Springer, pp. 117-128.

Afzaal, M., Hu, K., Ilyas Chishti, M., & Khan, Z. (2019), «Examining Pakistani news media discourses about China–Pakistan Economic Corridor: A corpus-based critical discourse analysis», in Cogent Social Sciences, 5(1), 1683940.

Ahmad, I. (2011), «English Language and Postcolonial Burden: Innovative Linguistic and Textual Strategies in Bapsi Sidhwa's Fictions», in Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities (1994-7046), 19(1), pp. 1994-7046.

Anwar, B. (2009), «Urdu-English code-switching: The use of Urdu phrases and clauses in Pakistani English (A non-native variety)», in International Journal of Language Studies, 3(4), pp. 409-452.

Ali, A. (2010), Concreteness in Business Letters: A Corpus-based Analysis of British and Pakistani English (Dissertation). Retrieved from

Baumgardner, R. J. (Eds). (1993), The English language in Pakistan, Oxford University Press.

Biber, D. (2010), Corpus-based and corpus-driven analyses of language variation and use, in The Oxford Handbook of linguistic analysis, London, pp. 159-192

Bilal, H. A., Warraich, A. A., Fatima, N., Tiwana, D. S., & Bhatti, T. R. (2012), «Urdu loan words in Pakistani English», in Global Journal of Human Social Science Linguistics and Education, 12(9), 6-12.

Blommaert, J. (2010), The sociolinguistics of globalization, Cambridge University Press.

Brezina, V., Weill-Tessier, P., & McEnery, A. (2020). #LancsBox v. 5.x. [software].

Gee, J. P. (2005), An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and method, Routledge.

Hamuddin, B. (2015), Discourse on Media: Bringing Hot News into ELT's Classroom Discussion. Proceedings of ISELT FBS Universitas Negeri Padang, 3, 87-95.

Haidar, S. (2021), «Designed for failure: English instruction as a tool for the perpetuation of students’ dependent and dominated status», in International Multilingual Research Journal, 1-15.

Jadoon, N. K. (2017), «Pakistanization of English in Kamila Shamsie’s Kartography», in International Journal of English Language and Linguistics Research, 5(4), 1-17.

Jenkins, J. (2006), «Points of view and blind spots: ELF and SLA», in International Journal of Applied Linguistics 16.2, 137–162.

Jilani, S. F., & Anwar, B. (2018), «Lexico-semantic features of Pakistani English newspapers: A corpus-based approach», in International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(4), 50-63.

Kachru, B. B. (1988), Teaching World Englishes, Oxford University Press.

Kachru. B. B. (1983), The Indigenization of English: The English Language in India, Oxford University Press.

Khan, T. A. (2020), «Morphological Integration of Urdu Loan Words in Pakistani English», in English Language Teaching, 13(5), 49-63.

Manan, S. A., David, M. K., Dumanig, F. P., & Channa, L. A. (2017), «The glocalization of English in the Pakistan linguistic landscape», in World Englishes, 36(4), 645-665.

Mehmood, A. (2009), Corpus-analysis of Pakistani English. Ph.D. thesis.

Miller, C. R. (1994), Rhetorical Community: The cultural basis of genre, In A. Freedman, P. Medway (eds), Genre and the new rhetoric, Taylor&Francis, pp. 67-78.

Naidu, S. (2009), Metaphorical expressions in Indian English: A cross-cultural usage-based study. Oklahoma State University.

Rahman, T. (1990), Pakistani English, National Institute of Pakistan studies, Islamabad.

Ramadan (2022), In Collins Dictionary (online). Retrieved from

Raza, W. (2008), «Patterns in Pakistani English: Pronunciation and pedagogic priorities», in Market Forces, 4(3), 102-112.

Sadia, S., & Ghani, M. (2019), «Modality in editorials of Pakistani English newspapers: A corpus-based study», in International Journal of English Linguistics, 9(1), 144-151.

Seidlhofer, B. (2010), Lingua franca English in Europe, in A. Kirkpatrick (ed.), The Routledge handbook of world Englishes, Routledge, London, 355–371.

Tallat, M. (2003), «Pakistani English: A sociolinguistic variety», in Journal of Research (Faculty of Languages & Islamic Studies), 4, pp. 17-30.

van Dijk, T. (1980), Macrostructures: An interdisciplinary study of global structures in Discourse, interaction, and cognition, LEA, New Jersey.

van Dijk, T. A. (1985), Handbook of discourse analysis, in Discourse and Dialogue, Academic Press, Oralndo, pp. 103-136.

Zahida, M., Tayyeba, B., Hira, Z (2021), «Analysis of the Urduization Trend in Bapsi Sidhwa’s Novels», in Journal of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, 79 (1), 2422-8435.

Zahra, F., Zahra, T., & Abbas, A. (2022, June 15), PakLocCorp. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from

How to Cite
Zahra, F. T., Zahra, T. and Abbas, A. (2023) “Neoliberal Co-option of English: A Study of Urduized Terms in Pakistani Magazine Articles through Corpus Approaches”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 17(2). doi: 10.4396/2023120V02.