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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

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Volume 2019, Issue 227


Using semantic tagging to examine the American Dream and the Chinese Dream

Zhide Hou
  • Corresponding author
  • English Department, Shenzhen Tourism College of Jinan University, Shenzhen, 518053, Guangdong Province, China
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Published Online: 2019-02-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2016-0116


This paper uses Wmatrix to generate semantic tagging to compare corpora of media representations between the American Dream and the Chinese Dream. The USAS tagger is used to assign the semantic field tags to the America Dream Corpus (ADC) and the Chinese Dream Corpus (CDC). The motivation of this study is to replicate the studies using an automated and inclusive method based on semantic tagging (Potts, A. & P. Baker. 2012. Does semantic tagging identify cultural change in British and American English? International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 17(3). 295–324), and more importantly, to conduct a broad semantic categorization on both national dreams so as to uncover the cultural, social and historical similarities and/or differences. It is found that the cultural difference of the individualistic home and work association of the American Dream versus the collectivistic nation and world attributions of the Chinese Dream. The different historical stage and social-economic contexts are disclosed from the different temporal positions from time category, and the contrastive tags associated with negative representation of the American Dream and positive representation of the Chinese Dream.

Keywords: the American Dream; the Chinese Dream; culture; semantic tagging; Wmatrix


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-02-13

Published in Print: 2019-03-05

The work described in this paper was substantially supported by Guangdong Province High-level University Foundation, granted from Jinan University at Shenzhen, China (grant number:88018052).

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2019, Issue 227, Pages 145–168, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2016-0116.

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