In this article, I aim to revisit some key issues in approaches to research on mass media texts from a discourse analytical perspective and to present a rationale, as well as a Critical Discourse Analysis (henceforth, CDA) framework for analysis of mass media discourse. I then consider a number of areas of critical research interest in mass media discourse locally and elsewhere. Examples of actual CDA research on mass media discourse are reviewed in terms of topics of apparent popular interest among practitioners such as racist discourse in news reporting, language of globalization and neo-capitalism, and war news reporting, before listing methodological, as well as topical agenda by a major proponent in the field for further work. The article concludes that CDA’s multidisciplinary approach to research on mass media discourse helps reveal hidden socio-political issues and agenda in various areas of language as social practice and in doing so potentially empowers the individual and social groups.
CDA, critical analysis, mass media discourse, critical discourse studies, language and power, media texts analysis, media research agenda
In this paper, we examine the way a leading Malaysian newspaper represents the act of charitable giving on the part of big corporate organisations that take on the role of benefactor in order to fulfil their corporate social responsibilities. Drawing on the methodology of critical discourse analysis, we examine extracts from four newspaper reports selected from a corpus of 179 texts. The aim of the analysis is to find out how the news reports represent the charitable act (i.e. the donation), the organisation performing the act (i.e. the benefactor), and the object of the act (i.e. the recipient) in its report of the charitable event. This question is critical because the answer reveals the unequal distribution of power in the relationship constructed between benefactor and recipient. We also set out to discover how the different voices are incorporated into the writer’s voice. The analysis reveals in addition the manner in which the discourse of charitable giving becomes inextricably entwined with the discourse of advertising and promotion.
This paper discusses the coverage of Islam and Muslims in the New York Times (NYT) in the wake of the 9/11 events and the ensuing two years. The study shows that coverage of Islam and Muslims takes a new trajectory regarding their representation by which the NYT departs from a monolithic representation towards a fragmented perception. It stays away from the previous themes that have been constantly projected about Islam and Muslims in the western media and provides a more diverse picture. As such, it showed Islam to have two versions, moderate and extremist, and portrayed Muslims based on these two versions. A myriad of diverse themes are manifested and projected in relation to the different versions and camps of Islam and Muslims. From another perspective, the NYT utilizes the essentialization strategy to affiliate extremism to all Islamic movements operating in the domain of politics. It lumps all of them together, portraying them as a threat without concern as to whether they seek political means or use violence to achieve their goals. No distinction is made among these movements in regard to whether they are traditional, modern, violent or peaceful. In adopting this strategy, it thus becomes unclear where moderate Islam ends and where extremism or fundamentalism begins. This dichotomy of Islam and Muslims camps and the essentialization of political Islam are revealed in the light of a multi-disciplinary approach of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) in which a textual analysis and a critical linguistic approach are adopted.
Critical Discourse Analysis, Islam, muslims, 9/11, The New York Times
Air-ground communication is a unique conversational discourse via specific technological equipment engaged by pilots and air traffic controllers. To conduct efficient air-ground communication, a special language or radiotelephony, is deliberately created and designed for aviation personnel to successfully conduct flight operations and to communicate through wireless technology. Therefore, radiotelephony may be seen as a universal or ‘international language’ used by pilots and air traffic controllers around the world, but it is also a distinctive language used within a restricted environment by a specific profession. A study was conducted to look at the general organisation and communication strategies in radiotelephony at discourse level and to describe its linguistic properties. This paper presents preliminary findings of the analysis done at discourse level and identifies categories of word formations used to construct the lexicon of radiotelephony.The analysis shows that turns are achieved in formulaic patterns embedded with confined units of moves. At the lexical level, compounding and shortening play a substantial role in contributingterms specific to the genre. The findings indicate that radiotelephony possesses distinctive linguistic characteristics influenced by the wireless medium of communication, certain flight operation activities and the unique institutional goal of interaction.
This study illustrates how compliments and compliment response strategies differ across gender among celebrities in Malaysia. The objective of the study is to identify the functions and topics of compliments, and also the patterns and strategies of compliment responses across gender among celebrities on twitter. Forty celebrities consisting of 20 males and 20 females were selected and the data were collected from their twitter accounts. A total of 220 compliments and compliment responses were extracted from the celebrities’ tweets as to form the corpus for investigation. The results indicate several differences on how compliments and compliment responses are used by men and women. Women prefer to compliment on appearance, while men prefer to compliment on possession. The results also reveal differences in strategies used by the celebrities to respond to compliments. Female addressees adhere to the first principle that governed the act of politeness, that is, to accept the compliment in order to give face to the complimenter. However, male addressees tend to use comment acceptance when receiving compliments. The study provides evidence for significant differences in the use of compliments and compliment responses across gender. In addition, cross-cultural differences are also discussed briefly.
An increasing number of public and private institutions of higher learning in Malaysia are offering courses using the blended approach, where knowledge delivery is done via face-to-face classes and online modes to enable students to complete assignments and projects. The Internet and online learning tools facilitate to incorporate courses, syllabi, and teaching materials to make knowledge delivery and information sharing more challenging, meaningful and interesting. This paper discusses how blogs have been utilized as a platform for interactions in the language classroom. The study investigated how students used the blog to practise their communication and writing skills, and in what way blogging have benefited them. Attempts were made to answer these questions through reviewing students’ responses about commencing and sharing knowledge via blogs. The paper also presents some creative steps shared by students in exploiting their blogs during their language course.
This article explores the tension between humanistic ideas of subjective wholeness and the networked and fragmented, conceptualization of female cyborg subjectivity presented in Mamoru Oshii’s anime Ghost in the Shell (1995). The article argues that the anime exposes the mediated nature of female cyborg subjectivity through its treatment of its protagonist in three key moments in the film: in the title scene, the dream passage through the city and in the final confrontation between the Puppet-Master and Major Kusanagi. This article suggests that the always already split and alienated consciousness of women due to their objectification both creates anxiety and tension, as well as enables the recognition of the fragmented and networked status of female cyborg subjectivity in the anime.
Anime, cyborg, female, Ghost in the Shell, Oshii, subjectivity
The theme of universals and distinctions in discourse is particularly relevant to our contemporary times when globalization has impacted on every aspect of life and living. Borders, both literal and metaphorical, have become porous, admitting easy exchange between the universals and the distinctions, the local and the global. However, despite the fluid movement of things, people and ideas, we cannot overlook the reality that on many fronts, borders are precarious and smaller countries are swallowed up by the global culture. This paper looks at some of the tensions that emerge within the overlap of the local and global. In this context, Jamaica Kincaid’s (1989), A Small Place is a riveting narrative which reveals the importance of viewing and placing the smaller places of the world against the larger, more powerful countries. In this text, Kincaid (1989) speaks passionately about her country which she feels has been swept aside and forgotten. The paper hopes to show that by acknowledging the transformative effects, sometimes positive, sometimes crippling, that come out of the universals-distinctions exchange, the smaller, often formerly colonized nations of the world, can find and define themselves and not drown in the tide of sameness, a quotidian feature of global culture.
After 56 years of Independence, Malaysia still continues to struggle with its efforts in constructing an amicable ‘national identity.’ The struggle especially centred on the ‘one nation one language’ policy, which later led to another contentious determinant of national identity, that of ‘national literature.’ Malaysian literature, due to the nation’s colonial experience, consequentially falls under the category of ‘postcolonial literature.’ This comes with its attendant baggage of also being considered as peripheral literature, or emergent literature, or Third World literature. In other words, it is categorically non-western literature. The question this gives rise to is: which direction should Malaysian literature take in asserting a ‘true’ postcolonial identity? Should it continue to be one that insists on reinforcing the ‘one nation one language’ ideal with modern Malay literature (written by predominantly Malay writers) representing collectively the nation’s identity? Or should it recognize those strong voices of dissent as the ‘true postcolonial’, those voices of (especially) non-Malay writers who insist on writing in the language of the coloniser (English)? This paper considers these positions by using the German Romantic ideal of “collective individuality” as its measure of how far Malaysian literature (represented by both modern Malay literature and Malaysian literature in English) has truly come to its own as worthy of being called ‘postcolonial’ literature. In doing so, the paper also highlights the problematic term ‘national literature.’
Collective individuality, national identity, German Romanticism, Romantic Idealism, Malaysian Literature, Postcoloniality, national literature, nationalism