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

Bang, Minhee (2009). Representation of foreign countries in the US press : a corpus study. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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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: 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
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics


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