The major division he stresses although occasionally

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Unformatted text preview: er One, Section 6). This seems to be an irreconcilable contention between linguists who claim that a scientific investigation of linguistic meaning is not possible and those who claim the contrary. Needless to say, I belong to the second group. 66 Chapter II Leaving the deadlock unresolved, we move in the next section to the language of the mass media and the mutual reinforcement that Conceptual Metaphor Theory and media discourse analysis can gain from each other. The common grounds for both is the view that communication is a social phenomenon and can be value-laden. 4. The language of the mass media, discourse analysis and metaphor Bell (1991) sees media language as one of the most influential language input individuals experience today. The media can be divided into several genres with news and advertising as probably the most prominent. One of the advantages of analysing media language is its availability: The average newspaper may provide you with 100,000 or more words of text. The problem is not so much getting enough language to analyse but deciding how to restrict yourself to a manageable amount (Bell 1991: 3). A journalist himself, Bell has a hands-on experience of how the news is constructed, and shows a more sensitive view of the genre distinctions within the news. The major division he stresses, although occasionally blurred by the journalists themselves, is the one between the hard news and the soft news (feature articles). He points out that the hard news tends to be more uniform in style, whereas the feature articles leave more room for an author’s individual style and may even be written by nonjournalists. Therefore he sees the genre division of language corpora as a weakness if the aim of the study is the news styles. He quotes Brown Corpus and LOB as the corpora who lump the hard and the soft news together under one heading: reportage. Like Langacker and Sinclair with reference to the form and meaning of linguistic expressions, Bell believes that the form and content of the news are inseparable: We cannot separate news form and news content. The values of news drive the way in which news is presented (Bell 1991: 155). Corpus linguistics and the language of mass media 67 In relation to the news values, Bell mentions Knightly’s (1975)10 book on war correspondents, in which the tension between the drive for a scoop, loyalty to their own country and army censorship all shaped the content and the style of the news dispatches. In his book Bell mentions in passing four different traditions in investigating the news media language: content analysis (Berelson 1952, Krippendorf 1980), critical linguistics (Fowler et al. 1979, Kress and Hodge 1979), semiotics (Hall et al. 1980) and discourse analysis (van Dijk 1988). Content analysis stems from the communication studies and was designed to investigate propaganda bias by means of quantitative study: frequency counts of pre-established discrete categories. When it comes to critical linguistics, Bell points out both its strong points and its drawbacks. He says: This research is at its strong...
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This essay was uploaded on 02/24/2014 for the course LING 1100 taught by Professor Friedman during the Fall '09 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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