The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has generated a spectacular rise in social media communication and an unprecedented avalanche of global conversation. This paper traces the emergence of the racist term “Chinese virus” used by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, on the Western social media platform Twitter and its reception and recontextualization on Chinese social media. Creative bilingual responses fusing English and Chinese resulted in a popular searchable meme “#用中式英语跨文化交流#” (“#Chinglish used for cross-cultural communication#”), on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform. Such linguistic creativity involves a variation of swears to mock and condemn the racist phrase. Formally, linguistic practices such as self-coinage, transliteration, verbal repetition, and acronyms can be observed. Functionally, the recontexualizations evidence a defensive ideology linked to nationalism and modernism. Ultimately, combatting the English racist term “Chinese virus” with a creative mixture of English and Chinese demonstrates how English has become ever more decentered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The discourse of broadcast news is shifting toward being more “conversational.” As a consequence, rather than assuming the traditional poker-face style of delivering news on television, news readers as televised personae are becoming more “informal” and “dialogic” in order to better relate to audiences. Eyebrow flashes, as a communicative resource in television news presentation, play an important part in construing the expressiveness of presentation and engaging with audiences. Drawing upon insights from nonverbal communication studies (especially the pragmatics of nonverbal communication) and discourse analysis, this paper explores the pragmatics of eyebrow flashes as a marker of expressivity in news delivery, and the interaction of eyebrow flashes with the verbal context, based on data collected from Chinese broadcast news in English. The analysis shows that eyebrow flashes are widely employed to initiate the theme of the agent in news messages (implicating “I know something”), to emphasize the focus of the news statements (implying “I am thinking now”), and to respond to the attributed statement (indicating “I want to know more”). Therefore, eyebrow flashes function to assist viewers in construing alignment with authors or reporters of news, as well as alignment with audiences. In addition, they serve to distill personal emotion to hybridize the institutional voice of news, thus rendering television news more “watchable” and engaging.
The COVID-19 outbreak is a global pandemic declared by the World Health Organization, with rapidly increasing cases in most countries. A wide range of research is urgently needed for understanding the COVID-19 pandemic, such as transmissibility, geographic spreading, risk factors for infections, and economic impacts. Reliable data archive and sharing are essential to jump-start innovative research to combat COVID-19. This research is a collaborative and innovative effort in building such an archive, including the collection of various data resources relevant to COVID-19 research, such as daily cases, social media, population mobility, health facilities, climate, socioeconomic data, research articles, policy and regulation, and global news. Due to the heterogeneity between data sources, our effort also includes processing and integrating different datasets based on GIS (Geographic Information System) base maps to make them relatable and comparable. To keep the data files permanent, we published all open data to the Harvard Dataverse (https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/2019ncov), an online data management and sharing platform with a permanent Digital Object Identifier number for each dataset. Finally, preliminary studies are conducted based on the shared COVID-19 datasets and revealed different spatial transmission patterns among mainland China, Italy, and the United States.