Investigating the Evaluative Language in Philippine and Chinese News Reports on the South China Sea Disputes

Rachelle Ballesteros-Lintao


This study examined a cross-cultural perspective on how the top popular press in the Philippines and China portray an evaluative stance as regards the current South China Sea tensions. It set out to reveal the news writers’ positions through examining Martin and White’s (2005) appraisal framework particularly the attitude category. The analysis of the media reports from the two countries culled from a three-year period (January 2013-December 2016) focused on how the news writers construed their attitudinal judgment and positions. Findings reveal that the high occurrences of appreciation resources in both corpora provide subtle or indirect expressions of behavioral judgment in the course of journalistic writing where conventions relating to objectivity are necessary. Even if dominated by appreciation evaluative language that construes value of phenomenon relating to aspects of the disputes, affect (manifesting emotions) and judgment (relating to behavior) evaluative resources are employed to reflect or represent the socio-cultural and political contexts, government policy and even capture the local sentiment in which the news reports are written. As regards the difference between the two, the Chinese news reports lean towards a more diplomatic stance through the noteworthy use of evaluative affect and appreciation resources that underscore enhancement of relationship, partnership and accord while the Philippine news reports are more inclined to express implied negative subjective attitudinal stance on the issue. This paper set out the significance of language in framing positions, sentiments, opinions and policies in which meanings are construed in news reports. Examining media discourse from the lens of the appraisal system or evaluative language underscores how subjectivity occurs where beliefs, notions and values in a society are generated.


Media Discourse, South China Sea, Appraisal Framework, Attitude, Evaluative Language, News Reports

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