Author: Hou, Zhide
Title: The American dream meets the Chinese dream : a corpus-driven analysis
Degree: DALS
Year: 2017
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Discourse analysis
Journalism -- Language
Journalism -- Social aspects
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: viii, 232 pages : illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Based on a large number of news reports of the American Dream and the Chinese Dream, the present study compares the media representations of each national dream in terms of cultural identity, social-historical context, the political influences of discursive practice, and the respective prevailing ideological systems in the USA and China. This study builds on the framework for undertaking the automated semantic tagging function of Wmatrix (Rayson, 2008) and Sinclair's (1996, 2004) framework of 'extended units of meaning' and critical discourse analysis (van Dijk, 1993; Fairclough, 1995; Wodak et al., 1999), and adopts triangulating methodological approaches to compare the American Dream Corpus (ADC) and the Chinese Dream Corpus (CDC). Three corpus linguistics tools are used to generate statistically significant frequency data. These are Wmatrix (Rayson, 2008) for semantic field, Wordsmith (Scott, 2015) for top lexical words and keywords and ConcGram 1.0 (Greaves, 2009) for phraseologies. The triangulated analyses of the media representations across the corpora of the American Dream and the Chinese Dream in news reports have shown the advantage of achieving convergent (broadly similar) and complementary findings which reveal more thorough and complete picture of the issue under study. Analyses reveal the cultural identity of the individualistic home and work associations of the American Dream versus the collectivistic nation and world attributions of the Chinese Dream. The study also reveals the current unfavorable social-economic context of achieving the American Dream with phraseologies associated with difficulties in achieving homeownership, a job, college degree, health care in a troubled economy, conversely, the social context of optimism and hopefulness of the Chinese Dream is represented with phraseologies related to national rejuvenation, world peace, and mutual cooperation. The study presupposes the earlier individual success and favorable historical conditions of achieving the American Dream, and the historical requirements of the Chinese nation to advance the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation due to China's "Century of Humiliation". Politically, it reveals considerable discrepancies in terms of discourse control and manipulation taking into account the phraseologies related to Barack Obama and Xi Jinping and the institutional power of each government. The study not only underlines the prevailing individualism and negative social conditions currently facing the American Dream but also embodies the unfailing truth of the American Dream that goes beyond America's border to the Chinese Dream; while the prevailing ideological system represented by the Chinese Dream presents a common goal and the hopefulness of the Chinese nation. Finally, the study has practical implications to investigate the potential of methodological triangulation for future corpus linguistics research.

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