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.
Bednarek, Monica & Helen Caple. 2014. Why do news values matter? Towards a new methodological framework for analyzing news discourse in Critical Discourse Analysis and beyond. Discourse & Society 25(2). 135–158.
Bednarek, Monica & Helen Caple. 2014. Why do news values matter? Towards a new methodological framework for analyzing news discourse in Critical Discourse Analysis and beyond. Discourse & Society 25(2). 135–158.10.1177/0957926513516041)| false
Bucy, Erik P. & Maria Elizabeth Grabe. 2007. Taking television seriously: A sound and image bite analysis of presidential campaign coverage, 1992–2004. Journal of Communication 57(4). 652–675.10.1111/j.1460-2466.2007.00362.x)| false
Cavé, C., I. Guaïtella, R. Bertrand, S. Santi, F. Harlay & R. Espesser. 1996. About the relationship between eyebrow movements and F0 variations. In Proceedings of the international conference on spoken language processing, 2175–2179. Philadelphia.
Chafe, Wallace L. 1974. Language and consciousness. Language 50. 111–133.
Clayman, Steven & John Heritage. 2002. The news interview: Journalists and public figures on the air. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dennis, Everett E. 1984. Journalistic objectivity is possible. In Everette E. Dennis & John Calhoun Merrill (eds.), Basic issues in mass communication: A debate, 111–118. New York: Macmillan.
Du Bois, John. 2007. The stance triangle. In R. Englebreston (ed.), Stance-taking in discourse, 139–182. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Eibl-Eibesfelt, Irenäus. 1972. Similarities and differences between cultures in expressive movements. In Robert Hinde (ed.), Nonverbal communication, 297–314. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ekman, Paul. 1979. About brows: Emotional and conversational signals. In Mario Von Cranach & Klaus Foppa (eds.), Human ethology: Claims and limits of a new discipline, 169–202. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fairclough, Norman. 1994. Conversationalization of public discourse and the authority of the consumer. In Russell Keat, Nigel Whiteley & Nicholas Abercrombie (eds.), The authority of the consumer, 253–268 London: Routledge.
Fairclough, Norman. 1995. Media discourse. London: Edward Arnold.
Glasgow University Media Group. 1976. Bad news. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Goffman, Erving. 1981. Forms of talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Hirschberg, Julia. 1993. Pitch accents in context: Predicting intonational prominence from text. Artificial Intelligence 63. 305–340.
Jaffe, Alexandra. 2009. Introduction: The sociolinguistics of stance. In Alexandra Jaffe (ed.), Stance: Sociolinguistic perspective, 3–28. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331646.003.0001)| false
Johnstone, Barbara. 2009. Stance, style, and the linguistic individual. In Alexandra Jaffe (ed.), Stance: Sociolinguistic perspective, 29–52. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331646.003.0002)| false
Krahmer, Emiel & Marc Swerts. 2004. More about brows: A cross-linguistic study via analysis-by-synthesis. In Zsófia Ruttkay & Catherine Pelachaud (eds.), From brows to trust, 191–216. Dortrecht: Kluwer.
Lilleker, Darren G. 2006. Key concepts in political communication. London: Sage
Martin, Jim & Peter White. 2005. The language of evaluation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
McNair, Brian. 1999. Journalism and democracy. London: Routledge.
Montgomery, Martin. 2007. The discourse of broadcast news. New York: Routledge.
Montgomery, Martin. forthcoming. Media language, technology and broadcast talk. In Colleen Cotter & D. Perrin (eds.), Routledge handbook of language and media. London: Routledge.
Morgan, Bayard Q. 1953. Question melodies in American English. American Speech 2. 181–191.
Moscowitz, Leigh M. 2010. Gay marriage in television news: Voice and visual representation in the same-sex marriage debate. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 54(1). 24–39.
Moscowitz, Leigh M. 2010. Gay marriage in television news: Voice and visual representation in the same-sex marriage debate. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 54(1). 24–39.10.1080/08838150903550360)| false
Ryan, Michael. 2001. Journalistic ethics, objectivity, existential journalism, standpoint epistemology, and public journalism. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 16(1). 3–22.10.1207/S15327728JMME1601_2)| false
Tsfati, Yariv, Dana Markowitz Elfassi & Israel Waismel-Manor. 2010. Exploring the association between Israeli legislators’ physical attractiveness and their television news coverage. International Journal of Press/Politics 15(2). 175–192.
Tsfati, Yariv, Dana Markowitz Elfassi & Israel Waismel-Manor. 2010. Exploring the association between Israeli legislators’ physical attractiveness and their television news coverage. International Journal of Press/Politics 15(2). 175–192.10.1177/1940161209361212)| false
White, Peter R. R. 2012. Exploring the axiological workings of “reporter voice” news stories: Attribution and attitudinal positioning. Discourse, Context & Media 1(2–3). 57–67.10.1016/j.dcm.2012.10.004)| false
The Humanities and Social Sciences Project, granted by Ministry of Education, China, (Grant/Award Number: ‘[Grant Number: 13YJC740028]’) The MYRG supported by the University of Macau, (Grant/Award Number: ‘[Grant Number: MYRG 133 (Y1-L4)-FSH12-MM]’).
The official journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, founded in 1969 as one of the first scholarly journals in the field, Semiotica features articles reporting results of research in all branches of semiotic studies, in-depth reviews of selected current literature in the field, and occasional guest editorials and reports. The journal also publishes occasional Special Issues devoted to topics of particular interest.