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Silvia de Candia (University of Naples Federico II – Italy)

Evaluation in TV news discourse: a corpus-based study


Considerable research (e.g. Fairclough 1989; Fowler 1991; Haarman & Lombardo 2009) has shown that TV news language is far from being neutral and unbiased even though broadcasting regulations are imposed upon TV journalists (Harrison 2000) to make sure that the final product is recognized as an objective account of events. The analysis of specific linguistic resources, such as modality, concession, as well as specific lexical choice can offer interesting insights into the representation of stance of the broadcast’s participants (e.g. news presenters, reporters, correspondents on location but also ordinary people and experts). Following Stubbs’s (1996: 197) assumption that utterances always convey the text source’s stance, the present study will investigate several indicators of evaluation which signal the journalistic stance towards the events reported, through the analysis of a media texts corpus collected in 2007. In particular, it will draw on the “serendipitous” (Haarman & Lombardo forthcoming) corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS) methodology which combines quantitative, data-driven approaches in order to retrieve lexico-grammatical patterns through corpus processing tools - such as frequency lists, concordances and collocations - with qualitative methods traditionally adopted in discourse analysis (Hardt-Mautner 1995). The present paper describes preliminary results of such an analysis, in particular focusing on the differences between the reporters and the correspondents’ stance, through a corpus-based study which also exploits XML mark-up information about the identity, the participants’ roles and the structure of the news items.

Fairclough N., 1989, Language and Power, London, Longman
Fowler R., 1991, Language in The News: Discourse and Ideology in the Press, London, Routledge
Harrison J., 2000, Terrestrial TV News in Britain: the Culture of Production, Manchester and New York, Manchester University Press.
Stubbs M., 1996, Text And Corpus Analysis: Computer-Assisted Studies of Language and Culture, Oxford, Blackwell Publishers.
Haarman L. & Lombardo L. (eds.), 2009, Evaluation in War News, London & New York: Continuum.Hardt-Mautner G., 1995, “Only connect: Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics”. UCREL Technical Papers, vol. 6, UCREL-University of Lancaster, UK.

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