Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Vol 36, No 2 (2013)

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A CROSS-CULTURAL ANALYSIS OF STANCE IN DISASTER NEWS REPORTS

Lian Liu, Marie Stevenson

Abstract


This study examines stance in cross-cultural media discourse by comparing disaster news reports on the Sichuan earthquake of May 2008 in a Chinese, an Australian Chinese, and an Australian newspaper. The stance taken in the news reports is examined using the Attitude sub-system of Martin and White’s (2005) Appraisal framework. The analysis revealed that stance patterns in the reports from the three newspapers varied systematically, and that the reports from the three newspapers could be placed on a continuum, with the Chinese-Australian news reports taking an intermediate stance, though leaning more towards the Chinese stance. For instance, whereas the Australian reports focused primarily on evaluating the actual earthquake situation, both the Chinese and the Australian Chinese reports focused more on assessing the participants and their behavior during the aftermath of the earthquake. Findings are linked to features of the Chinese and Australian socio-cultural contexts, and the implications of the study are discussed for understanding the discourse of migrant ‘sub-cultures’ in relation to the discourse of the cultures to which they are connected.

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