Exploring the relationship between grammatical metaphor and mode differentiation in Chinese political discourses
In Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), the contextual research of Grammatical Metaphor (GM) is mainly examined by considering three register variables, namely, field, tenor and mode. Although there have been some studies on the relationship between GM and mode, the contribution of GM in mode differentiation has not been investigated in depth so far. This study thus aims to explore the relationship between GM and mode differentiation in Chinese political discourses through an analysis of a corpus formed by 15 texts based on Yang's GM model, and these texts construct three text types distinguished in mode, namely, political reports, political speeches and political interviews. After defining the mode scale and GM distribution scale, the study then examines how GM deployment connects with mode differentiation in two steps: (1) the establishment of mapping relationships between the lexical density scale and the ideational GM deployment scale; (2) the interpretation of the mapping relationships from functional perspectives. It is found that the lexical density scale and GM distribution scale of three text types are well mapped onto each other, which indicates that ideational GM distribution strongly correlates with the lexical density. Such mapping relationships suggest that the deployment of GM is related to mode differentiation because the use of GM has distinctive effects on the complexity, organization and ideologies of texts in different modes.
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