Rhetorical Construction of COVID-19 News in Chinese Context—A Corpus-Based Study

  •  Hong Zhang    


As a language practice, news discourse is rhetorical that responds to a given circumstance and conveys values and ideas to the target audience with specific goals. This study examined how the English official website in China represented COVID-19 news to affect the public under the rhetorical framework. Using Sketch Engine as the tool for data analysis on a self-built corpus, this study carried out a quantitative analysis of the linguistic features of the COVID-19 news on In Zhejiang, the official English website of China’s Zhejiang Province. Then, based on the data obtained from corpus analysis, this study applied both modern and classical rhetorical theories to conduct a qualitative analysis of the rhetorical mechanism, including rhetorical invention, rhetorical strategies, and style, of the COVID news on the website of In Zhejiang. The results showed that the COVID-19 news was a positive response to the COVID situation in Zhejiang province and China with the purposes of mobilizing the citizens and establishing favorable images of the government and the Zhejiang people. Meanwhile, the news was constructed within its cultural context and Chinese journalism conventions, making it more adapted to the home audience and limiting its appeal to a global audience and effectiveness for worldwide communication. By demonstrating that news discourse is a rhetorical construction, this study provides valuable insights for the news media, particularly Chinese official media, on how to approach the audience rhetorically to improve the persuasiveness of their news reports, as well as a new theoretical framework for the research of public health crises.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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