Construing experience in tourism discourse : a corpus-based study of transitivity system

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Construing experience in tourism discourse : a corpus-based study of transitivity system

 

Author: Chen, Jiansheng
Title: Construing experience in tourism discourse : a corpus-based study of transitivity system
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2014
Subject: Tourism -- Social aspects.
Functionalism (Linguistics)
Discourse analysis.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: viii, 236 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2747246
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7465
Abstract: The general aim of the present study was to investigate how the two fundamental experiences in tourism industry- image creation and image maintenance -- are construed through meaning by means of scrutinizing the deployment of transitivity resources in the texts selected from five selected registers related to tourism discourse. Hallidayan transitivity model was employed for the annotation of the process types and circumstances. Given the limitation of manual semantic annotation, the whole corpus, which is untagged, was used for comparative purpose. Typical realization forms of transitivity, i.e. typical verbs for process types, and typical adverbs, prepositional phrases for circumstantial transitivity, were used as the key words for corcondancing. Basically, the discussion was conducted on the findings from the annotated texts, and the concordancing results were also used as supporting evidences.
The investigation of the process types found in the annotated clauses (around 6 thousand), indicates that the differences are salient between three image-creation registers and two image-maintenance registers in the following aspects in related to three major process types: 1) for the relational clauses, the image-creation registers have a strong preference for relational: attributive: intensive type of clauses to entertain the persuasive elements in the texts, while the image-maintenance registers favor identifying clauses to decode concepts or make definitions; 2) for the mental clauses: the image-creation registers prefer perceptive and emotive clauses, while image-maintenance registers prefer cognitive clauses in construal of 'knowing' experiences; 3) in the image-creation texts, a majority of processes are employed to construct the meaning of 'dynamic space' in the sense of position and movement that is realized in motion verbs, while in the image-maintenance texts, the 'space' is characteristic of being static, with motion verbs being nominalized. In line with the examination of the nuclear transitivity, the investigation of circumstantial transitivity shows that a clear contrast was identified in the deployment of all circumstances in varied degree, for example, a similar pattern of construing 'space' in nuclear transitivity was observed in circumstantial transitivity. This implies the internal relationship between the deployment of nuclear transitivity and that of circumstances. This current research is an attempt to prove Halliday's conception that "our discourse as a whole will pattern quantitatively according to the probability profile of the grammar" (Halliday, 2009:292). This present study will be of many benefits: theoretically, it reiterates that registerial variation is manifested in the relative frequencies of the functions that are exploited in the structures. The transitivity profiles obtained from the analysis can be used to enrich the global profile of the transitivity systems of English language. Practically, this study might help to raise the tourism practitioners' awareness of registerial variation and enable them to manipulate the language of tourism more effectively to serve the tourism industry. Pedagogically, it would be useful to both students of tourism who opt for a semiotic approach to interpret the tourism discourse, and students of linguistics to understand how meaning in relation to a specific discourse is construed with grammatical resources.

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