Research Article

The Middle-class Card: A Corpus-based Study of the Characteristics of the Middle Class in US News


  • Amira Elzohiery Lecturer of Linguistics, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, Egypt


The ups and downs of the American middle class led several social scientists to rethink and reflect on their conditions, yet the characteristics of how the middle class are represented in the news have been hardly examined from a linguistic perspective. This study used a synergy of tools of Corpus Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis, guided by Norman Fairclough’s 3-D model (1989), to investigate the collocation profile of the middle class and the ideology underpinning its representation in US web news discourse from 2010 until 2022. The study relied on a specialized news corpus that had 1,253,678 tokens, including middle class (30,975 times) and middle-class (23,587 times). The findings showed that the US web news was consistent in constructing the characteristics of the middle class during the past twelve years. Under neoliberal policies, the idea of classism is an intrinsic dividing system in American society, and the notion that the middle-class family is an economic unit seems to be ubiquitous. Also, the middle class are depicted as the economic unit that establishes stability and the political card that politicians use in their agendas to win the majority of votes. In spite of the political and economic significance of the middle class, they are mostly passivated by minimizing their human agency and downplaying their roles as doers of social actions. The study can be a part of a branch of Applied Linguistics that focuses on the relationship between the science of economics and the science of language.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

6 (3)





How to Cite

Elzohiery, A. (2023). The Middle-class Card: A Corpus-based Study of the Characteristics of the Middle Class in US News. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 6(3), 01–16.



corpus-based studies, critical discourse analysis, US web news, The Middle Class, Middle-class Life