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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 39, Issue 2


The construction of relational frame model in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s foreign visit speeches

Le Cheng / Cheng Chen
Published Online: 2019-03-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2019-2022


This study analyzes the relational frames constructed in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s foreign visit speeches at three levels – the metaphorical surface frame; the non-metaphorical surface frame; and the deep frame – with the help of corpus-based mechanisms, e.g. semantic annotation and classification, semantic network retrieval, etc. In analyzing 11 foreign visit speeches between 2012 and 2017 (amounting to 20,213 words), the study reports three major findings. First, the metaphorical relational surface frames were constructed by intimate interpersonal concepts, war concepts and physical concepts, which are commonly shared by human beings. Second, the non-metaphorical relational surface frames were constructed by highlighting audiences’ beneficiary positions. Third, the deep frames were constructed by underscoring common benefits, cultural communication, people to people communication and the concerns about war and peace. The relational frames identified are compared with the cognition of the international audiences and it shows that the two conform significantly, which improves the acceptability of the speeches. Three strategies can be summarized for diplomatic speech design. First, the presentations based on universally shared experiences and knowledge can minimize perceptive difficulties in audiences. Second, presentations highlighting the audiences’ benefits are more easily accepted. Third, the cognition conceived in the presentations should conform to the audiences’ needs and preferences. The general communication features of Xi’s foreign visit speeches illustrated in the present study may offer a discourse model for diplomatic speeches.

Keywords: relational frame; President Xi Jinping; foreign visit speeches; corpus-based study; strategy


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About the article

Le Cheng

Le Cheng, Wei Shaoxiang Chair Professor, is a concurrent professor of legal discourse and translation, and professor of law at Zhejiang University. He also serves as the Director of Institute of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, of Center for Legal Discourse and Translation, and of Center for Contemporary Chinese Studies at Zhejiang University. He is Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Legal Discourse (De Gruyter), and Editor of International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (Springer). His research interests and publications are in the areas of discourse studies, semiotics, terminology and legal translation. Address for correspondence: School of International Studies, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310058, China. Email: chengle163@hotmail.com

Cheng Chen

Cheng Chen is a PhD candidate in Zhejiang University. Her research lies in political discourse analysis and corpus-based analysis. She is the leader of Zhejiang Provincial Social Science Planning Project and Hangzhou Municipal Social Science Planning Project on political discourse and diplomatic discourse research. Address for correspondence: School of International Studies, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310058, China. Email: chencheng_shania@163.com

Published Online: 2019-03-12

Published in Print: 2019-03-26

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 39, Issue 2, Pages 149–170, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2019-2022.

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