• Wagma Farooq National University of Modern Languages
  • Hazrat Umar National University of Modern Languages


This study explores the use of the strategy of erasure in environmental science discourses to explore the deletion of the agent. Three environmental science textbooks have been chosen for analysis. Stibbe’s (2015) framework of erasure has been used as a model for analyzing the data. He asserts that the natural world is marginalized in texts through the use of certain linguistic strategies; these strategies run throughout the whole discourse to construct the erasure of the ecosystem. The researchers aim to identify erasure at the level of the void, which is the complete erasure or deletion of the agent from these discourses. Stibbe mentions nine linguistic strategies for the construction of erasure in environmental discourses. These strategies are passive voice, nominalization, co-hyponymy, hyponymy, metaphor, metonymy, construction of noun phrases, transitivity patterns and massification. For the construction of void, the researchers have analyzed the strategies of passivization and nominalization. It has been found that these strategies are pervasive in the discourses, thereby deleting the agent and constructing void. The study suggests a new way to look at the language of ecological discourses and proposes further studies on how euphemistic language in these discourses can negatively influence readers.

Keywords: erasure, mask, void, environmental discourse


Botkin, B. D., & Keller, A. E. (2011). Environmental science: Earth as a living planet. (8th ed). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
El- Moussaouy, A., Abderbi, J., & Daoudi, M. (2014). Environmental education in the teaching and learning of scientific disciplines in Moroccan high schools. Int. Educ. Stud, 7(4), 33-46.
Fairclough, N. (2003). Analyzing discourse: Textual analysis for social research. London: Routledge.
Fill, A., & Muhlhausler, P. (Eds). (2001). The ecolinguistic reader: Language, ecology and environment. London & NY: Continuum.
Fill, F. A. (2009). Ecolinguistics. In Encyclopaedia of life support systems, linguistics.
Kahn, M. (1992). The passive voice of science: Language abuse in the wildlife profession. The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, 9(4), 152-154.
Leopold, A. (1979). A Sand County almanac and sketches here and there. Oxford: Oxford University Press. In Stibbe, A. (2015). Ecolinguistics: Language, ecology and the stories we live by. London & NY: Routledge.
Miller, T. G. (2006). Environmental science: Working with the Earth. (11th Ed.). USA: Thomson Brooks/cole. Retrieved From:
Mliless, M., & Larouz, M. (2018). An ecolinguistic analysis of environment texts in Moroccan English language teaching textbooks. International Journal of Research in Environmental Studies, 5(2018), 103-116.
Richards, C.J., & Schmidt, W.R. (2010). Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics. (4th ed). Harlow, Munich: Longman.
Schleppegrell, M. (1997). Agency in environmental education. Linguistics and Education, 9(1), 49-67.
Stibbe, A. (2014). An ecolinguistics approach to critical discourse studies. Critical discourse studies, 11(1). 10.1080/17405904.2013.845789.
Stibbe, A. (2015). Ecolinguistics: Language, ecology and the stories we live by. London & NY: Routledge.
UNESCO-UNEP (1976). The Belgrade Charter: A global framework for environmental education. Connect (UNESCO-UNEP Environmental Education Newsletter). 1 (1), 1-2.
Wright, T.R., & Boorse, F.D. (2017). Environmental science: Towards a sustainable future. (13th ed). USA: Pearson Education, Inc.
How to Cite
FAROOQ, Wagma; UMAR, Hazrat. THE DELETION OF THE HUMAN AGENT IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE DISCOURSE: AN ECOLINGUISTIC STUDY. University of Chitral Journal of Linguistics & Literature, [S.l.], v. 5, n. II, p. 89-111, dec. 2021. ISSN 2663-1512. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 jan. 2022. doi: