Panel 8 | Corpus-informed studies of discourse

CADAAD2022 | 06-08/07/2022 | Bergamo, Italy

54 | Carly Bray

Beyond dysfunction and deficit: a corpus-based critical discourse analysis of Australian news coverage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(s)

Academics and activists alike agree that media discourses surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(s) in Australia are overwhelmingly negative and often discriminatory (Media Diversity Australia, 2018; Due & Riggs, 2011; Bacon, 2005). When First Nations peoples or issues are afforded coverage, such coverage has been shown to centre discourses of failure, deficit, dysfunction and violence (Brough, 1999; Bednarek, 2020; Carden, 2017; Hollinsworth, 2005). However, research in this area has largely analysed a small number of articles or only one publication, and has tended to focus on coverage of a particular topic (e.g. health) or event (e.g. a protest). As such, findings cannot be reliably generalised. In addition, most studies have been non-linguistic in nature, meaning analyses of how these discourses are encoded in language are absent or lack detail.

To address this gap, this study uses corpus-based critical discourse analysis to investigate potential discourses in a more representative corpus of a wide range of news articles about Aboriginal people(s) and issues. Two new discourses are identified—namely, discourses associated with Aboriginal business and cooperation with government. The linguistic construction of these discourses is then described, including discussions of lexis, relevant appraisal resources and certain syntagmatic constructions. One particularly valuable insight is the use of prepositional constructions to minimise the agency of Aboriginal participants. This finding will be of interest to corpus-based CDA given a common tendency to neglect prepositions. I suggest that, while news media constructions of Aboriginal people(s) may have partially moved away from overtly negative discourses, discourses of business and cooperation nonetheless invoke values of capitalism and Western governance systems. These ideas are inherently colonial (Lloyd, 2010) and could therefore be seen to be at odds with First Nations aspirations of self-determination and culturally relevant representation.


Bacon, W. (2005). A case study in ethical failure: Twenty years of media coverage of Aboriginal deaths in custody. Pacific Journalism Review, 11(2), 17-41.

Bednarek, M. (2020). Invisible or high-risk: Computer-assisted discourse analysis of references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(s) and issues in a newspaper corpus about diabetes. PloS one, 15(6), e0234486.

Brough, M. (1999). A lost cause?: Representations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australian newspapers. Australian Journal of Communication, 26(2), 89-98.

Carden, C. (2017). 'As parents congregated at parties': Responsibility and blame in media representations of violence and school closure in an Indigenous community. Journal of Sociology, 53(3), 592-606.

Due, C., & Riggs, D. W. (2011). Representations of indigenous Australians in the mainstream news media. Post Pressed.

Hollinsworth, D. (2005). 'My island home': riot and resistance in media representations of Aboriginality. Social Alternatives, 24(1), 16-20.

Lloyd, C. (2010). The emergence of Australian settler capitalism in the nineteenth century and the disintegration/integration of Aboriginal societies: hybridisation and local evolution within the world market. In I. Keen (Ed.), Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies: Historical and anthropological perspectives (pp. 23-40). ANU Press.

Media Diversity Australia, in partnership with National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and with the support of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2018). Reporting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Issues: An introductory resource for the media. Retrieved from

104 | Justyna Tomczak-Boczko

If it wasn’t a macho, who? Analysis of the social actors of violence in Mexico

Machismo - the cult of macho - is often the only explanation for the constant and increasing violence in Mexico. Male-based violence is at the fore in modern machismo literature (Bustos Torres, 1999, Kaufman, 1989; Paz 1975, 1993, Stevens, 1965; Basham, 1976; Garda, 1998, and others. In Mexico, the macho cult is of special importance - it is part of the Mexican national identity - ""Machismo stereotypes are key components of the symbolic capital used by ordinary Mexicans"" (Gutmann, 2000, p. 57

The paper presents the results of the analysis of empirical material recorded in Guadalajara (Mexico). The main research questions are: Is ""being macho"" or machismo in general an explanation for violence? how do the interviewees talk about violence? Does the presentation of violence also justify it?

The analyzed corpus consists of the transcription of 54 hours of in-depth interviews with the inhabitants of Guadalajara and it counts over 340 thousands tokens. After generating fragments about violence, the transformations of social actors in acts of violence - perpetrators and victims - were analyzed. While informants talked about their lives, about their relatives and neighbors, they re-contextualized their social practices. This ""non-transparent"" process of recontextualization is the main axis of this work and justifies the use of the tools proposed by Theo van Leeuwen in Discourse and Practice. New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis (2008). His main goal is to describe how the elements of social practices can be, and are, transformed in the process of recontextualization. Among others elements the participants are the most relevant. Van Leeuwen proposes “sociosemantic inventory of the ways in which social actors can be represented” (ibid., 24). The prominence of the Social Actors Approach is reflected in numerous researches which applied the SAA tools (Saarinen, 2008; Sahragard i G., 2010; Winkler, 2011; Bennett, 2013; Krzyżanowska, 2013; Kamasa, 2013; Don i Lee, 2014; Esmaeili i Arabmofrad, 2015; Hansson, 2015.

In our research a number of transformations proposed by Theo van Leeuwen in Discourse and Practice New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis (2008) have been identified in analyzed fragments of interviews. In the context outlined briefly above, the low frequency of such words as macho or machista is surprising, thereby the conclusions of the analysis may controvert the official discourse (press, government or non-governmental organizations) about a fictional macho responsible for violence.


Bennett, J. (2013). Moralising class: A discourse analysis of the mainstream political response to Occupy and the August 2011 British riots. Discourse & Society, 24(1), 27–45.

Bustos Torres, B. (1999). Roles, actitudes y expectativas de género en la vida familiar. La Ventana. Revista de estudios de género, 130-157.

Don, Z. M., & Lee, C. (2014). Representing immigrants as illegals, threats and victims in Malaysia: Elite voices in the media. Discourse & Society, 25(6), 687–705.

Esmaeili, S., & Arabmofrad, A. (2015). A Critical Discourse Analysis of Family and Friends Textbooks: Representation of Genderism. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 4(4), 55–61.

Gutmann, M. C. (2000). Ser hombre de verdad en la ciudad de México. Ni macho ni mandilón. Meksyk: El Colegio de México.

Hansson, S. (2015). Discursive strategies of blame avoidance in government: A framework for analysis. Discourse & Society, 26(3), 297–322.

Kaufman, M. (1989). Hombres placer, poder y cambio. Santo Domingo: CIPAF.

Stevens, E. P. (1965). Mexican Machismo: Politics and Value Orientations. The Western Political Quarterly, 848-857.

van Leeuwen, T. (2008). Discourse and Practice. New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

145 | Federico Zaupa

Exploring Discourses On LGBTIQA+ People During Covid-19: A Critical Corpus-Based Approach To The British And Italian Broadsheet Press

In recent times there has been a growing interest in corpus-based approaches to the analysis of the discursive representation of LGBTIQA+ people in public discourse, especially in Governmental debates and in the press. For the first area, scholars have shown implicit and indirect homophobia reproduced in parliamentarian debates on the age of Consent for same-sex intercourse (Baker 2005; Love & Baker 2015) and same-sex relationships (Bachmann 2011). For the second, corpus-based critical discourse analysis has been applied mainly to the British press to analyse the discursive representation of same-sex marriages (Turner et al. 2018; Paterson & Coffey-Glover 2018), transgender people (Baker 2014b; Zottola 2018), bisexuality (Wilkinson 2019) and LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers (Baker et al. 2008; Wilkinson 2020).

Considering that since the new decade not only has Covid-19 impacted our daily lives, but it also has triggered different protest movements against already existing social inequalities sharpened by the effects of the pandemic, this paper aims at exploring to what extent this historical period has contributed to the reproduction of new or unchanged discursive representations of LGBTIQA+ people and issues in the news. Drawing on the theoretical and methodological background previously outlined, methods of corpus-based critical discourse analysis are used to analyse a large multilingual corpus of British and Italian broadsheet newspaper articles published in 2020.

Preliminary results suggest that, although British and Italian newspapers still similarly reproduce implicit heteronormative discourses explored in the literature, in the British press minorities previously erased such as transgender and queer people have increasingly gained visibility. Furthermore, compared to the Italian corpus, British journalists tend to report on LGBTIQA+ people adopting a more intersectional approach.


Bachmann, I. (2011). Civil partnership – “gay marriage in all but name”: A corpus-driven analysis of discourses of same-sex relationships in the UK parliament. Corpora, 6(1), 77-105.

Baker, P. (2014a). Using corpora to analyze gender. A&C Black.

Baker, P. (2014b). Bad wigs and screaming mimis: Using corpus-assisted techniques to carry out critical discourse analysis of the representation of trans people in the British press. Contemporary critical discourse studies, 211-235.

Baker, P. (2005). Public discourses of gay men. Abingdon: Routledge

Love, R., & Baker, P. (2015). The hate that dare not speak its name?. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict, 3(1), 57-86.

Paterson, L. L., & Coffey-Glover, L. (2018). Discourses of marriage in same-sex marriage debates in the UK press 2011–2014. Journal of Language and Sexuality, 7(2), 175-204.

Turner, G., Mills, S., Van der Bom, I., Coffey-Glover, L., Paterson, L. L., & Jones, L. (2018). Opposition as victimhood in newspaper debates about same-sex marriage. Discourse & Society, 29(2), 180-197.

Wilkinson, M. (2020). Discourse analysis of LGBT identities. In: Friginal, E., & Hardy, J. A. (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Corpus Approaches to Discourse Analysis, (pp. 936-964), Routledge.

Wilkinson, M. (2019). ‘Bisexual oysters’: A diachronic corpus-based critical discourse analysis of bisexual representation in The Times between 1957 and 2017. Discourse & Communication, 13(2), 249-267.

Zottola, A. (2018). Transgender identity labels in the British press: A corpus-based discourse analysis. Journal of Language and Sexuality, 7(2), 237-262.

161 | Yingjie Wang, Matt Coler, & Gisela Redeker

A contrastive study on the representation of “Made in China” in Chinese and U.S. newspapers

This paper presents a contrastive study on the coverage of “Made in China” (MIC) in Chinese and U.S. newspapers. We address the following research questions: (1) What are the topics associated with MIC in Chinese and U.S. newspapers? (2) What are the underlying attitudes identifiable from the MIC-related consistent collocations (c-collocation) in Chinese and U.S. newspapers and how do they vary across time? Question 1 will shed light on the macrostructures in Chinese English-language newspaper reports on MIC. Question 2 will provide insight into journalists’ positions through linguistic patterns in the texts’ microstructures. Both will take the socio-political contexts into account. The issues implicit in the research questions require a theoretical framework that takes into account both quantitative and qualitative exploration. Accordingly, we adopt two distinct perspectives: critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics.

We collected all relevant articles with the phrase “Made in China” from six Chinese English-language newspapers and two U.S. newspapers during 2006 and 2018 using the database LexisNexis, and manually collecting articles from the newspapers of WSJ and WP. The Chinese corpus contains 6,059 articles with 4,525,136 tokens, mainly contributed by China Daily (n=3,760, 62%), and the U.S. corpus consists of 2,250 articles with 2,353,966 tokens. We cleaned the metadata and saved the collected articles as UTF-8 text files. For a clearer view of the changes across periods, we divided each corpus into three sub-corpora – Period 1 (January 1, 2006–December 31, 2010), Period 2 (January 1, 2011–February 28, 2015), and Period 3 (March 1, 2015–December 31, 2018), based on the times when the 11th (2006) and 12th (2011) Five-Year Plans and Made in China 2025 (March 2015) were enacted.

The corpora were analyzed using the corpus tool #LancsBox. To identify the topics associated with MIC, we first got the list of top 100 high-frequency noun lemmas for each sub-corpus. The lemmas were categorized into topics and sub-topics according to dictionary meanings and their use in the co-texts. Regarding the MIC-related c-collocations and their semantic prosodies, we first examined the R1 c-collocates (the word in the first slot to the right of the central word) of the phrase “Made in China”. Frequency was chosen as the collocation measure, with a minimum of five occurrences and in a descending order. Through closely reading the corresponding concordances, we then coded the c-collocations into semantic prosodies with MAXQDA.

This contrastive study was designed to contribute to the understanding of the similarities and differences between the major Chinese and U.S. newspapers in representing MIC during 2006 and 2018. Two main results have been found: (1) There are seven topics related to MIC that are shared by the Chinese and U.S. newspapers - Development, Economy, Geography, Politics, Production, Society, and Time, but they differ in frequency. The Chinese newspapers tend to mention the domestic and international manufacturing situations, while the U.S. newspapers pay attention to the trade issues with China; (2) the overall attitude of the MIC-related c-collocations in the U.S. newspapers is more negative than that in the Chinese newspapers. Moreover, there is a shift from negativity in Period 1 to positivity in Periods 2 and 3 in the Chinese newspapers and a constant majority of negativity across periods in the U.S. newspapers. Undoubtedly, the multifaceted representations of MIC are greatly influenced by the corresponding socio-political contexts, such as the production scandals of milk and toys in 2007 in Period 1, and the trade conflicts between U.S. and China in 2018 in Period 3. A detailed analysis of the influence of key events on the MIC image in Chinese and U.S. newspapers is beyond the scope of the present paper.

171 | Melike Kose

Interdiscursivity of Emotions in the Articulations of Historical Narratives in Turkish Political Discourse

This paper aims to understand the interdiscursivity of emotions within the context of reproduction of historical narratives by current identity discourses to see how continuity within discursive emotional elements in Turkish political discourses contributes to legitimizing foreign policy practices towards Europe. Europe as the Significant Other of Turkey has been a source of contradiction and contestation since the 18th century. Europe is a symbol of progress and civilization that is both an object of admiration, and an untrustworthy enemy, prompting reactions of fear and doubt. Historical narratives such as Sevre and Tanzimat Syndromes -which recall Turkey’s traumatic past experience with the West, especially during the decline and collapse of the Ottoman Empire- are frequently reproduced or alluded to in both official and unofficial foreign policy discourses. The literature on the role of historical narratives in the construction of Turkish National Identity mostly neglects the powerful role of emotions such as grief and glory in the reproduction of identities and thereby their significant contribution to the legitimation of foreign policy decisions.

This paper will study the interdiscursivity of emotions in discourses (i.e. interconnection of emotional meanings between different discourses) which connect current foreign policy to the historical narratives of national identity and of Europe. It investigates how the affective force of historical narratives as sedimented practices in society ideologically empowers particular political positions and legitimizes particular articulations of foreign policy towards Europe.

Methodologically, it will adopt post-structural discourse theory (PDT) since it provides a relational discursive epistemology to study the foreign policy: on the one hand, a conceptualization of identity in relational terms with a privileged Self and a devalued Other and on the other hand, an emphasis on the discursive construction of identity as both constitutive of and a product of foreign policy.

Following current empirical research by PDT scholars, this study adopts methodic triangulation combining close qualitative readings with a corpus linguistics approach that uses computer software to identify frequent and salient linguistic patterns over large amounts of data. The corpus will be prepared from the selected texts among the proceedings of Turkish National Parliament from 3 different periods: (1) 1997-1999 (2) 2006-2008 (3) 2016-2018. These periods represent three milestones in Turkey-EU relations which created a reactive atmosphere in Turkey and led to wide discussions about Europe and Turkey’s Foreign Policy towards the EU.

187 | Laura Coffey-Glover & Victoria Howard

‘At the breast is best?’ A feminist critical discourse analysis of normative and non-normative infant feeding practices in online infant feeding promotional discourse

This paper provides a feminist critical discourse analysis (Lazar 2007) of discourses of breastmilk expression (EMM) in a corpus of online infant feeding promotional literature. EMM involves the removal of breastmilk either manually by hand, or using a breast pump, which can be done in combination with feeding at the breast and/or the use of infant formula. Existing feminist analyses of infant feeding practices have examined the promotion of long-term exclusive breastfeeding as symbolic of ‘total motherhood’ (Wolf 2011), where formula feeding is framed in contrast as ‘risky’ (Murphy 1999, 2000; Brookes et al 2016). This work acknowledges the importance of examining how the promotion of breastfeeding and marginalisation of formula feeding can serve feminist and anti-feminist agendas and lead to discriminatory practices (Wolf 2011; Brookes et al 2016). Discourses surrounding the expression of breastmilk (EMM) and their discriminatory potential is currently under-researched. However, rhetorical strategies that exclude EMM as a form of breastfeeding can reinforce the perceived normalcy of feeding at the breast, and relegate EMM and formula feeding as ‘deviant’ practices (Murphy 1999; Hunt and Thompson 2017; Coffey-Glover 2020).

To that end, using tools from corpus linguistics and feminist critical discourse analysis (Sunderland 2004; Lazar 2007), this paper will examine the linguistic mechanisms of discrimination employed by the text producers that serve to marginalise the expression of breastmilk in servitude of ‘breast is best’ (Murphy 1999). We analyse both ‘static’ health advice materials from official public health and major charitable organisations in the UK, such as UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative, the NHS and Public Health England, Le Leche League and the National Childbirth Trust, as well as ‘dynamic’ data from these organisation’s social media campaigns. By examining these different mediated contexts, we aim to interrogate the roles that each plays in facilitating the dissemination of discriminatory discourses in their promotion of exclusive breastfeeding as the ‘gold standard’ of infant feeding.

Keywords: infant feeding, breastmilk expression, feminist critical discourse analysis, corpus linguistics


Brookes, G., Harvey, K. and Mullany, L. (2016) ‘Off to the best start’? A multimodal critique of breast and formula feeding health promotional discourse. Gender and Language: 10(3): 340-363.

Coffey-Glover, L. (2020) ‘The boob diaries: discourses of breastfeeding in ‘exclusive pumping’ blogs’. Special Issue on ‘Doing Motherhood Online: parenting, identity and digital interaction.’ Zhao, Sumin and Mackenzie, J. (eds) Discourse, Context and Media 38, December 2020. [online] available at:

Hunt, L. and Thomson, G. (2017) ‘Pressure and judgement within a dichotomous landscape of infant feeding: a grounded theory study to explore why breastfeeding women do not access peer support provision’. Maternal & Child Nutrition 13(2): e12279.

Lazar, M. (2007) ‘Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis: Articulating a Feminist Discourse Praxis’ Critical Discourse Studies 4:(2): 141-164.

Murphy. E. (1999) ‘Breast is best’: Infant feeding decisions and maternal deviance. Sociology of Health & Illness 21(2): 187-208.

Murphy, E. (2000) Risk, responsibility and rhetoric in infant feeding. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 29(3): 291-325.

Sunderland, J. (2004) Gendered Discourses. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wolf, J. B. (2011) Is Breast best?: Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood. New York: New York University Press.

247 | Sara Vilar-Lluch, Nat Hansen, Maxime Lepoutre, & Emma Borg

What do we talk about when we talk about hate speech? Using corpus-informed discourse analysis to understand the ordinary meaning of incitement to hatred and violence

In 1990 a group of teenagers were accused of cross burning in the yard of a black family in St Paul, Minnesota (United States). The teenagers were prosecuted under an ordinance of the city that prohibited placing symbols on public or private spaces, including “burning cross or Nazi swastika” that could cause “anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender” (Fiss, 1995: 282). In the 1992 case R.A.V. v. City of Saint Paul, the US Supreme Court declared the ordinance unconstitutional for being considered a breach of the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of expression. This case was to become one of the most important pronouncements of the US Supreme Court on free speech (Fiss, 1995: 281) and the regulation of expression or hate speech.

“Hate speech” does not only refer to attitudes of hate nor to linguistic verbalisations of hatred (Brown, 2017a). Printed matter and waving a flag may all be identified as hate speech in certain circumstances. In legal discourse, “hate speech” is understood as a speech act which may include incitement to hatred, violence, hostility or discrimination; glorification of violence, crimes or terrorism; racial hate speech; religious intolerance and homophobic speech (Tulkens, 2014). Prohibitions of hate speech do not condemn the expression of a hateful opinion, because that would interfere with free speech. Instead, such prohibitions focus on the perlocutionary force of the speech act, i.e. its potential to convince and incite the audience to commit particular acts (Tulkens, 2014: 9).

In the English Common Law, statutory interpretation is guided by the Plain Meaning Rule, which appeals to the ordinary meaning of language in interpreting legal terms unless the statute defines them otherwise or unless the results would be absurd or cruel. Given the importance of ordinary meaning in the law and the prevalence of hate speech in current public debates, it seems reasonable to ask for the ordinary meaning of hate speech, i.e., whether there is a shared meaning of “hate speech” in the English-speaking community. While this question has received some attention (e.g., Brown, 2017a and 2017b), we argue that corpus-informed discourse analysis can help shed light on potential disparities between the legal and lay understandings of the concept of “hate speech”.

We are building a corpus of news articles about hate speech for the purpose of the study. News articles are retrieved from the Nexis database LexisLibraryNews conducting searches with the keywords ‘hate speech’, ‘incitement to violence / discrimination / hostility /hatred’, ‘glorification of violence / terrorism’. LexisLibraryNews coverage dates from the beginning of the 1980s, being the first news article included in the corpus from the 1990. However, as revealed by the searches, the topic of hate speech was not popularised until 1992, with reports of the verdict of R.A.V v. Saint Paul. News articles both reflect and shape social concerns and public ways of thinking of phenomena. They are therefore a good starting point for an investigation into the ordinary meaning of, and longitudinal changes in the use of, politically contested expressions like “hate speech”.


Brown, A. (2017a). What is hate speech? Part 1: The myth of hate. Law and Philosophy, 36(4), 419-468.

Brown, A. (2017b). What is hate speech? Part 2: Family resemblances. Law and Philosophy, 36(5), 561-613.

Fiss, O. M. (1995). The supreme court and the problem of hate speech. Capital

University Law Review, 24(2), 281-292.

Tulkens, F. (2012, October). When to say is to do, freedom of expression and hate speech in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. In Strasbourg: Seminar on Human Rights for European Judicial Trainers.

270 | E. Dimitris Kitis

What gentrification means? Collocates and metaphors in the global Anglophone press

Starting from London and New York, processes of so-called gentrification have transformed neighbourhoods affected by urban decline in cities across the globe. Such processes often cause controversy due to the displacement of established lower-income or ethnic/racial communities by newer higher-income residents. The term gentrification itself, coined by British sociologist Ruth Glass writing about London in 1964, has become politically charged over time due to polarized debate. Concurrently, the term has become increasingly popular in different parts of the English-speaking world beyond its Western metropolitan core. In these respects, broadsheet editorials of major Anglophone world publications are a source that exemplify a range of attitudes concerning gentrification, often including a variety of academic, business-oriented or other popular opinions on the subject.

The focus of this paper is to examine how gentrification has been construed in various prestigious broadsheet newspapers from different parts of the Anglophone world during the latter part of the twentieth century and up to the present-day. In particular, the Lexis Academic database was employed to build a ca. 31-million-word corpus of newspaper articles published between 1988 and 2018 in US, UK, Australian, South African, Canadian, Singaporean and Hong-Kong titles. Subsequently, WordSmith tools was employed to perform a range of collocation and concordance searches of the word stem gentrif* returning all its inflected and derivational variants. More specifically, the paper focuses on how certain concrete or physical (clearly delineated) source domains are used to discuss the more abstract concept/process of gentrification, thus, shaping the way we think about it through conceptual/cognitive metaphor. Moreover, transitivity structures from the Systemic-Functional paradigm are scrutinized in order to investigate the representations of different participants (residents, developers, etc.) in the gentrification process. The corpus linguistic methodology, cognitive linguistic perspective and Systemic-Functional grammar are all employed within the framework of Critical Discourse Studies to connect various discourses and conventional conceptualizations shared by the press with more explicit ideologies and power relations, deepening our interpretative abilities.

In this way, the paper highlights a range of ordinary conceptualizations that have been employed in descriptions of gentrification, revealing a nuanced list of the most common physical concepts (source domains) that shape the way we think about the phenomenon. The analysis finds the specific linguistic evidence in the corpus for these partial cognitive mappings from source domains to the conceptual domain of gentrification and discusses their (unspoken) entailments that can motivate different understandings of the phenomenon (and constrain others). In the process, the discussion explores how metaphors have shaped the meaning of the term gentrification over time. It is claimed that metaphors have been key in condensing meaning(s) in this term, which denotes an entity/object but is also interpreted as a process or action, involving a number of arguments, participants, etc. Furthermore, the universality of these conceptual metaphors, and therefore, meanings of gentrification is tested in view of the corpus’s global reach. Overall, the paper provides a short history of the different imageries of gentrification in the world’s major Anglophone newspapers at both a linguistic and socio-cultural level. As such, the paper demonstrates both a cross-cultural and diachronic image of gentrification through its collocates and metaphors.

278 | Gilberto Giannacchi

The representation of LGBTQ+ characters in mass marketed romance: a corpus stylistics and discourse analysis on Harlequin Carina Adores novels

This paper provides a detailed account on the salient stylistic and discoursal features of Carina Adores romance novels, a series published by Harlequin Enterprises that focuses on narrations centered on LGBTQ+ characters. This linguistic investigation aims at verifying whether, in recent years, Harlequin Enterprises has shown signs of distancing from the claims made by popular culture scholars about their alleged patriarchal and backward-looking ideological set. Carina Adores novels, which address same sex relationships and diversity, might represent either a successful, or an ineffective attempt by Harlequin Enterprises to adhere to more progressive and inclusive views. To carry out the analysis, an interdisciplinary approach involving corpus linguistics, stylistics and discourse analysis will be deployed. Firstly, a synchronic and balanced corpus entirely made up of Carina Adores extracts will be made. Then, the most common speech and thought presentation strategies will be identified and examined by adopting the revised ST&WP model by Semino and Short. In addition, the recurrent discourse prosodies surrounding cognitive and verbal activity in the novels will be uncovered using the frameworks by John Sinclair and Paul Baker. Such concordances and collocations will be pinpointed with the open-source software AntConc. Harlequin Enterprises, a behemoth in the mass-marketed romance industry, constitutes a controversial topic. Scholars have published riveting studies on both Harlequin’s literary value and on their implicit ideology – especially on the power discrepancies between male and female characters. Nevertheless, these two perspectives have never been employed in synergy and existing research on the topic often lacks extensive linguistic data. Since Harlequins – and thus Carina Adores books – represent mass literature, it can be surmised that they contain both explicit and implicit linguistic clues that mirror either conservative ideology, or an effort at negotiating values with the working classes. Simultaneously, Carina Press strategies in style and discourse may represent a mediation of values with LGBTQ+ communities and thus lead to unprecedented views on the role and ideology of mass literature. For these reasons, this multidisciplinary research project can provide concrete evidence that might enrich the fervent debate surrounding Harlequin and help to refine the existing sociological and literary views on the matter.


Primary Sources

Farmer, K. (2020). Out on the Ice. Toronto, Ontario: Carina Press

Fisher, K.D. (2020). The Secret Ingredient. Toronto, Ontario: Carina Press

Lin, H. (2021). Hard Sell. Toronto, Ontario: Carina Press

Parrish, R. (2020). Better Than People. Toronto, Ontario: Carina Press

Ripper, K. (2021). The Love Study. Toronto, Ontario: Carina Press

Secondary Sources

Baker, P. (2006). Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis. London: Bloomsbury.

Semino, E., & Short, M. (2004). Corpus Stylistics: Speech, writing and thought presentation in a corpus of English writing. London: Routledge.

Fielder, L. (1982). What Was Literature?: Class Culture and Mass Society. New York: Simon.

Grescoe, P. (1996). The Merchants of Venus: Inside Harlequin and the Empire of Romance. Vancouver: Raincoast Books.

Horkheimer, M., & Adorno, T. W. (1982). Dialectic of enlightenment. New York: Continuum.

Modleski, T. (1980, Spring). The Disappearing Act: A Study of Harlequin Romances. Signs, 5(3), 435-448.

Sinclair, J. (1991). Corpus, concordance, collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Van Dijk, T. A. (1993). Principles of Critical Discourse Analysis. Discourse & Society, 4(2), 249-283.

302 | Yanni Sun

Impoliteness in professional and consumer film reviews

Online reviews have become what ordinary consumers consult before consumption. Marketing research (professional: e.g. Chen et al., 2012; non-professional: e.g. Liu, 2006; professional and non-professional: e.g. Santos et al., 2019) has found that they (either written by professional or non-professional reviewers) can influence the revenue of the producers. Growing academic attention has been drawn to study the characteristics of these reviews. Initially, the focus was on macro-features related to those reviews such as the volume and the evaluative valence, or the main content of the reviews (e.g. Liu, 2006). Then it changed to an in-depth analysis of those reviews’ content, structure, discursive strategies, and even lexical choices (e.g. Chik & Taboada, 2020; de Jong & Burgers, 2013). Nevertheless, as a form of criticism and a rich resource of impoliteness manifestations, online reviews received limited attention from researchers in pragmatics. Only a few (e.g. Feng & Ren, 2020) attempted to apply the impoliteness framework into the analysis of online reviews, and explore how impoliteness is realized in them. The current study continues the quest in these studies, but extends the research scope to the genre of film reviews, specifically aiming to investigate how professional reviews differ from the non-professional ones in impoliteness. The following two research questions were explored:

(1) Do professional and non-professional reviews differ in their use of impoliteness strategies?

(2) Which type of reviews are more impolite, the professional or the non-professional ones?

Referring to the list of the worst films on Rotten Tomatoes, this research selected two widely criticized blockbusters and collected equal numbers of unfavorable reviews from film critics (115 reviews) and ordinary audiences (115 reviews) from the website. These reviews were annotated with UAM Corpus Tool according to the framework of impoliteness strategies based on Bousfield (2008) and Viejobueno et al. (2008). Chi-squared tests were run to verify the significance of the difference between different types of reviewers in terms of impoliteness strategy use. As a method triangulation, keyword analysis was also conducted on Wmatrix 5 to investigate the keyword difference between the professional review and non-professional review corpora as corroboration of the findings in impoliteness strategy use.


Bousfield, D. (2008). Impoliteness in interaction. John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Chen, Y., Liu, Y. & Zhang, J. (2012). When do Third-Party product reviews affect firm value and what can firms do? The case of media critics and professional movie reviews. Journal of Marketing, 76, 116–134.

Chik, S. & Taboada, M. (2020). Generic structure and rhetorical relations of online book reviews in English, Japanese and Chinese. Contrastive Pragmatics, 1(2), 143-179.

de Jong, I. K. & Burgers, C. (2013). Do consumer critics write differently from professional critics? A genre analysis of online film reviews. Discourse, Context & Media, 2(2), 75-83.

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