Intertextuality in institutional talks – A corpus--assisted study of interactions between spokespersons and journalists

Mao, Zhongwan (2015). Intertextuality in institutional talks – A corpus--assisted study of interactions between spokespersons and journalists. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (1MB)


This thesis uses corpus tools and methods to explore how the enunciations of White House spokespersons are intertextually informed by the enunciations (including their questions at White House press meetings) journalists under institutional constraints, by studying a corpus consisting of texts created by both spokespersons (transcripts of White House press conferences) and journalists (newspaper editorials/articles downloaded from New York Times online version). It sheds light on an important reason behind the lack of corpus studies in exploring intertextuality—there is no clear material connexion between corpus linguistics and intertextuality—based on the observation in the literature that intertextuality involves a mental process (e.g.: Kristeva 1980) while corpus linguistics is based on concrete language samples (e.g.: Sinclair 1991; Tognini- Bonelli 2001). It thus introduces the notion of intertext (a collection of text segments which refer to / indicate the same conceptual area(s)) as the material connection between the corpus approach and intertextuality and exemplifies how this notion and its features contribute to the exploration of intertextuality, by the analysis of two words used as prominent examples, namely, timetable and troops. It also highlights the claim for institutional talks that participants have different preferences in selecting the words they use (Heritage 1997), pointing out that participants within an institutional talk make their lexical choices under the impact of both institutional constraints and their interlocutors’ intertextual influence. Finally, it challenges the traditional idea of institutional interaction between spokespersons and journalists, showing that this interaction does not stop immediately when a press conference ends; rather, there are subsequent indirect interactions between them via newspaper articles/editorials.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year