LINGUIST List 31.2864

Tue Sep 22 2020

Calls: Chinese; Pragmatics/Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 20-Sep-2020
From: Lutgard Lams <>
Subject: Meaning Generation in Chinese Official Media Discourse
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Full Title: Meaning Generation in Chinese Official Media Discourse

Date: 27-May-2021 - 02-Jul-2021
Location: Winterthur, Switzerland
Contact Person: Lutgard Lams
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Language Family(ies): Chinese

Call Deadline: 15-Oct-2020

Meeting Description:

The focus in this session is on meaning generation in Chinese official media discourse. While the term 'meaning generation' is very broad, the object of investigation is specific: Chinese official media. We welcome studies that zoom in on the meaning-making process through linguistic choices in the media discourse.

Media discourse operates in a public sphere with struggles over meaning, which is ‘communicatively, interactively and intersubjectively generated’ (Verschueren 2016: 143). It is consequently an ideological site where journalists and other interactants may skillfully manipulate meaning to influence the viewpoints of the general public, but it is equally a site where ideological meaning is generated on the basis of common sense assumptions without any intentionality on the part of the message producer. Meanwhile, due to increasing popularity and penetration of internet and mobile devices into people’s life, media discourse features complexity in terms of channels, modalities, heterogeneity of producers, audiences, and meanings generated, circulated, and ‘re-entextualized’ (Beeman and Peterson 2001).
When applied to the Chinese media context, one can investigate meaning generation in the official media that answer to and reflect party discourse or one can focus on bottom-up discourses, either aligning with or contesting state narratives. This panel chooses to examine the way voices in the Chinese vernacular and English-language state media are negotiated when addressing the domestic and foreign communities. Intent on reaching a fuller inclusion into the global media discourse networks, they also ensure that the ‘China story’ is being told ‘properly’ to the outside world and seek alignment from the Chinese citizenry to the state’s dominant tune (Kadar, Liu and House 2020).

This panel therefore offers a platform for an exchange of ideas about explorations into various phenomena concerning the pragmatics of meaning generation in Chinese official media discourse. We warmly welcome empirically-grounded contributions that take linguistic analysis as the point of departure but may approach it from a variety of analytical lenses, either with a culture-specific perspective or a cross-cultural one.

Call for Papers:

Examples of genres, events or themes that can be explored include but are not limited to:
- Genres: (Official discourse) press conferences, reports in the traditional mass media (audiovisual and print) and the new media, interviews, …
- Events: The Two Sessions, COVID-19 pandemic, China-US trade dispute, Hong Kong issues and National Security Law, Chinese tourists, etc.
- Themes: Diachronic study of continuities/divergences in (multimodal) official discursive practices, as disseminated through the media; Identity construction (e.g. China image, Chinese overseas students, Chinese companies,...); Framing and Positioning the Self and the Other; Social and cultural roles of agents/actors/intermediaries; Politeness strategies and alignment (Kadar, Liu and House 2020), Meaning generation and presuppositions.

Abstracts should be between 250 and 500 words and are to be submitted by 15 October (12 noon) to the panel convenors (;

Beeman, W. O. and Peterson, M. A. (2001). Situations and interpretations: Explorations in interpretive practice. Anthropological Quarterly 74: 159-162.
Kadar, D. Z., Liu F. G. and House, J. (2020). (Im)Politeness and Chinese political discourse – An introduction. Discourse, Context & Media 35.
Verschueren, J. (2016). Humanities and public sphere: A pragmatic perspective. Pragmatics and Society 7(1), 141-161.

Page Updated: 22-Sep-2020