A Corpus-based Critical Ecological Discourse Analysis of Corporate Annual Environmental Reports : China Three Gorges Corporation as an Example

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Title: A Corpus-based Critical Ecological Discourse Analysis of Corporate Annual Environmental Reports : China Three Gorges Corporation as an Example
Author: Gong, Heng
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201912194247
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Englannin kielen ja kirjallisuuden maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in English Studies
Magisterprogrammet i engelska språket och litteraturen
Specialisation: Englanti
Abstract: With the construction of the largest water dam in the world, China’s Three Gorges Dam, many severe environmental problems have emerged along the Yangtze River. Its constructor, the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC), publishes an annual environmental report (AER) to address the ecological problems. This study aims to investigate these reports from the perspective of ecolinguistics under the Story Theory put forward by Arran Stibbe (2015). This study addresses three questions: 1) Are there any beneficial, ambivalent, or destructive discourses in China Three Gorges Corporation's annual environmental reports? 2) If so, how is each story being constructed? 3) What suggestions and implications can we obtain from the analyses of these stories? To answer these questions, 10 English AERs published from 2008 to 2017 by CTGC were collected to compile a corpus with a size of 114,770 tokens. Six story types, including frame, metaphor, evaluation, identity, erasure, and salience, were then chosen for analysis with the combination method of ecolinguistics, corpus linguistics, and critical discourse analysis. The results show that, within the frame story, the sustainable development frame and the green development frame were ambivalent discourses. Within the metaphor story, RIVER AS A TOOL FOR MAKING MONEY, NATURE IS A MACHINE, ECOLOGICAL DAMAGE IS AN ACCIDENT, and COMPANY IS A HUMAN were destructive discourses; NATURE IS A COMPETITION and CLIMATE CHANGE IS A WAR were ambivalent discourses. Within the evaluation story, using three purr-words (clean, new, and renewable) to describe energy formed a destructive discourse. Within the identity story, the use of the pronouns we and our distanced more-than-human participants from human participants, which formed a destructive discourse. Within the erasure story, the nominalization of the word pollute formed a destructive discourse. Within the salience story, describing endangered fish species with abstract words and describing fish as a type of resource formed two destructive discourses, and using the basic level word fish formed a beneficial discourse. Based on these judgments, this study concludes that the beneficial discourse should be promoted, the destructive discourses should be resisted, and the positive parts of the ambivalent discourses should be highlighted while their negative parts should be rejected. These findings can contribute to our understanding of the ecological discourse of the water dam.
Subject: Ecolinguistics
corpus linguistics
critical discourse analysis
environmental reports

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