Discourse Analysis of Taiwan’s Presidential Press Releases in Response to the Sunflower Movement

International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume II, Issue IX, September 2018 | ISSN 2454–6186

Discourse Analysis of Taiwan’s Presidential Press Releases in Response to the Sunflower Movement

Pei-ling Yang

Oriental Institute of Technology, Taiwan

Abstract: – Language is a type of social practice and a kind of communication with intentions. Critical Discourse Analysis is to examine and analyze written and spoken language in order to unfold the sources of power, dominance, and inequality. The major goals of Critical Discourse Analysis are to examine the people who have power and chances to deal with social problems. Language use of a country’s president serves as a good example of the examination of language and power and linguistic strategies. However, there is little research analyzing presidential discourse by van Dijk’s model. Therefore, the discourse in this study was analyzed by using van Dijk’s model in order to describe, interpret, and explain the discourse from Taiwan President Ying-jeou Ma’s press releases released and broadcasted by Taiwan Government. The selected releases were delivered from March 23rd, 2014 to April 7th, 2014, targeting at explaining Taiwan Government’s intentions on signing the Cross-Strait Agreement on Trade in Services with PRC and soothing the anger of the protesting students. The data of the presidential releases based on van Dijk’s socio-cognitive model was categorized into the following three themes: discourse representing US versus THEM, persuasive strategies, and from the rational to the emotional. The study is, thus, to reveal the message hidden in the discourse and linguistic strategies applied by a country’s leader.

Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis; presidential press releases


Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) views languages as a type of social practice and attempts to draw people’s attention to the dialectical relationship between discourse and society, which is normally hidden and implicit(Van Dijk “Principles of Critical Discourse Analysis”; Norman Fairclough; Ruth Wodak Language, Power and Ideology). A dialectical relationship refers to a two-way relationship in which discourse is shaped by social contexts and it also shapes them(Fairclough and Wodak). Hidden and implicit ideologies, social conditions, and power relations are revealed and studied through critical views of CDA.

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