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Representation of foreign countries in the US press : a corpus study

Bang, Minhee (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This study examines the representation of foreign countries in two US newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post. The corpus comprises foreign news reports between the years 1999-2003 amounting to approximately 42 million words of running text. The thesis presents 5 analyses each focusing on collocational and semantic patterns of a given set of keywords. In the first study, premodifiers of the keywords countries/ country/ nations/ nation are examined. It is argued that the semantic patterns of the premodifers construe a hierarchy and polarity among the countries concerned. In the second study, collocates indicating mental and verbal processes of Arab leaders and European/ European Union/ EU leaders are examined. In the third study, verbs of saying attributed to the keywords Blair and Hussein are examined. In the fourth study, the lexical collocate said and a set of grammatical collocates of the keywords China/ Japan/ North Korea/ South Korea are examined. These three analyses show that there are subtle and nuanced patterns in the representation of the countries and leaders which correspond to the countries’ relationship with the US and which transmit the ‘friend and foe’ or ‘us and them’ ideology. In the fifth study, the collocational patterns of the keyword democracy are examined. The analysis shows evaluative and rhetorical functions in the use of democracy in the context of foreign countries. Taken together, the analyses demonstrate cumulatively formed patterns of the representation of foreign countries which can be characterised by the two semantic themes of asymmetry and stereotyping.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Hunston, Susan (1953-)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Subjects:PE English
P Philology. Linguistics
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:902
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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