The use of positive and negative language in the daily mail and the guardian to polarize public opinions

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The use of positive and negative language in the daily mail and the guardian to polarize public opinions

 

Author: Wilson, Kaci Wong
Title: The use of positive and negative language in the daily mail and the guardian to polarize public opinions
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2016
Subject: English newspapers -- Language.
Journalism -- Objectivity -- Great Britain.
English language -- Discourse analysis.
English language -- Social aspects -- Great Britain.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: 62 pages
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2917050
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8629
Abstract: Following the onset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, the number of Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict into other countries have now passed four million (The UN Refugee Agency, 2015). In the direct aftermath of the death of Aylan Kurdi, a three year-old Syrian boy who drowned while attempting to reach Europe, a surge of reports regarding the Syrian refugee crisis can be found in British news outlets. This dissertation explores the use of language in reporting the crisis in two particular British newspapers, the Guardian and the Daily Mail. Traditionally, the Guardian is recognized as a broadsheet newspaper while the Daily Mail is categorized as a mid-market tabloid. The primary goal of the research is to identify and categorize the language choices in 6 different articles guided by Martin & White's (2005) appraisal theory and Critical Discourse Analysis approach composed by Fairclough (2015) and Van Dijk (1985). Both these methods establish newspaper discourse as value-laden texts and that both readers and writers reveal their stance through their choice of the newspapers. CDA, in particular, focuses on inequality in society and by using such method, this dissertation aims to establish the linguistic and discursive patterns found in the newspapers. Moreover, the study explores if and how newspapers reveal their political stance in the process. It is noted that comparisons between positive and negative language used in a British mid-market tabloid and broadsheet paper surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis have yet been explored. As a result, the overarching purpose of the research is to take preliminary steps towards a new branch of inquiry in newspaper discourse analysis by studying two sets of newspapers articles. The literature review of this dissertation acknowledges the importance of media in modern day society with numerous scholars noting that newspaper discourse is mediated and regulated, yet language choices between the Daily Mail and the Guardian have yet been explored. The conceptual framework explores the framing, mediation perspectives of newspaper discourse. The findings identify the language and techniques used by these two newspapers to deliberate, inform and influence their readers.

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