The correlation between political slant and the use of expressions of stance in the English newspaper discourse on immigration

The correlation between political slant and the use of expressions of stance in the English newspaper discourse on immigration

The aim of this presentation is to determine how Epistemic stance —the speaker’s expression of certainty, doubt, or knowledge regarding the information they are conveying (Boye, 2012; Carretero et al., 2017; Marín-Arrese, 2021)— and Effective stance —the expression of stance concerning the realization of events, with the speaker’s aim to determine or influence the course of reality itself (Marín-Arrese, 2021; Domínguez Romero and Martín de la Rosa, 2023; Mora-López and Ferrer-Navas, 2023)— are used in English newspaper discourse related to migration issues. This study focuses on the similarities and differences in their distribution and use from a contrastive perspective including different political slants and the distinction between refugees and illegal migrants. The corpus comprised opinion columns from the newspapers The Telegraph (right), The Times (centre-right), The Independent (centre-left) and The Guardian (left). Each of the subcorpora consists of 30,000 words, which adds up to a total of 240,000 words for the complete English press corpus. This includes one subcorpus from each newspaper and from both illegal immigration and refugee crises published in contemporary periods: the Syrian crisis (2014-2016), the Afghan crisis (2020-2021) and the Ukrainian crisis (2022-2023). The corpus was annotated manually following the several categories inside Effective and Epistemic Stance. With this corpus, it is not only possible to compare the perspectives about refugees and migrants, but also to see how refugees themselves have been perceived differently depending on the specific crisis, and how the views about migrants may have also changed in different periods of time. The annotations were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively, in terms of log likelihood and frequency comparison. The results show a different use of Effective and Epistemic strategies among political slants, thus revealing different communicative strategies in newspaper discourse and differences in the authors’ cultural values and beliefs with respect to refugees and migrants.



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