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  1. #1
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    Default Text from Economist (which genre)

    Hey,

    I need your help. I have a text from the Economist which I need to analyse.

    By succumbing to domestic pressures, America has started an alarming trade row with China

    IN RAW economic terms Barack Obama’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese tyres hardly registers. The number of jobs affected is barely a rounding error in measurements of the mighty American workforce. The cost to consumers is also slight. But in geopolitical terms, it is a whopper. Mr Obama’s most overtly protectionist decision so far has triggered a predictably angry reaction from China, which threatened to retaliate against American chickens and car parts and to haul America before the World Trade Organisation. The Global Times, a newspaper that often reflects the views of hardline nationalists in China, ran a front-page headline saying “America has erred before the world”.

    The tit-for-tat dispute casts a pall over the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh on September 24th and 25th where Mr Obama will play host to Hu Jintao, China’s president. Warnings of a trade war have multiplied. There have even been comparisons to America’s infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which deepened the Depression.

    Some of this is hyperbole. ... (Reasons stated) ... and Mr Obama’s are mild by comparison. “On the broad canvas of presidential trade policy, Obama’s decision is unexceptional,” says Doug Irwin, a trade historian at Dartmouth College. ...

    But the decision does come at a risky time. Protectionist actions, in particular against China, have been multiplying in recent years (see chart) ...

    Until now Mr Obama has tried to allay fears that he is a bit of a protectionist by ... (reasons stated) Even now Mr Obama insists he is “committed to pursuing expanded trade and new trade agreements”, and this week he defended his action as nothing more than the enforcement of trade laws.

    That, however, is a stretch. Mr Obama had no obligation to act. Under the terms of joining the WTO, China gave other countries the right until 2013 to impose temporary “safeguards” against surges of Chinese imports. In America the relevant law, Section 421 of the Trade Act, does not require proof that China has broken international trade rules against subsidising or dumping goods ...

    Politically, Mr Obama may have felt he had little choice. The United Steelworkers union filed the complaint in April and the law required Mr Obama to decide by September 17th. Having promised repeatedly to enforce trade laws more vigorously than Mr Bush, Mr Obama presumably felt he needed to do something. The economic benefits to those who lobbied for protection, however, are minuscule ...

    China also bears some blame. American negotiators were ready to withhold the tariffs if China made concessions, but to no avail. Mr Obama’s defenders note that China would not have gained entry to the WTO without the “safeguard” provisions, which bought political support among its trading partners. And voters and Congress might be less likely to support future trade agreements if the safeguards in existing agreements are never used.

    Still, Mr Obama’s imposition of tariffs will tempt more industries and unions to seek similar relief, and he will have to decide whether this decision is a template or an exception. (Examples ...)

    China itself faces a delicate balancing act. On September 15th more than 300 of the Communist Party’s top officials began a four-day annual meeting in Beijing where ... And Mr Hu will not want a breakdown of commercial ties with America ahead of the G20 and Mr Obama’s visit to China in November.

    But nor can he let Mr Obama entirely off the hook. Having announced an investigation into America’s alleged dumping, it will be hard to back away. Indeed, the spat will awaken unpleasant memories of the controversy over China’s accession to the WTO. China agreed to the safeguards clause in 2001 with gritted teeth, in part because its reformists saw WTO entry as a useful tool for encouraging market-oriented reforms. China’s prime minister at the time, Zhu Rongji, was subjected to harsh criticism from conservatives at home for pressing so hard for WTO entry. Times are more difficult now than they were back then, so expect a few more fireworks.

    Since I'm not allowed to post the entire article here, I've shortened it a bit (the words in parenthesis are how the text continuous).

    Now, I need to find out to which genre the text belongs, which function the dominant is and whether it is a good example of its genre.

    As regards genre, I thought it is an economic newspaper article (are there any other genres that are more fitting?).

    Concerning the function, I'm sure that it is informative and it has expressive elements. Furthermore, I think the author analyses quite a bit (is this normal for a newspaper article?). But is the text also argumentative? Depending on your viewpoint, I think it might be.

    Furthermore, is it more subjective or objective? I feel it is more objective because the author provides evidence for his claims and does not really evaluate Obama's action as good or bad, but just states positive and negative factors about it, or am I wrong here?

    And my last problem: Is it a good exemplar of its genre? Since I'm not really sure about the genre of the text, I can't really answer this. The parallel texts I have read about this topic are either editorials (very subjective - too much compared to this text, I think) or "real" news articles, which provide more information (also background info), objective and less evaluative.

    I'd really appreciate your help. Thanks a lot in advance.
    Last edited by Amy44; 13-Jan-2010 at 17:32.

  2. #2
    fighting spirit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Text from Economist (which genre)

    I can't analyze the whole text instead of you, but I can give you the most important features. I suggest that you analyze the text, and then we can check it.
    Since you've found this text in The Economist, pay attention to the language of newspapers.

    Register
    1. Mode is obviously written.
    2. Manner - what is the relationship between the participants (journalist and reader), formal or informal?
    3. Function - to inform, persuade, entertain and so on?
    4. Field - what is the subject matter

    Lexis

    Headlines
    1. Style - is it simple, easy readable, appropriate, impact created?
    2. What are the connotations of words chosen?
    3. What kinds of modifiers are used?
    4. Does the headline catch a reader's attention?
    5. What is the target group according to the headline?
    Reports
    1. Are the words chosen formal or informal?
    2. Do modifiers express precise detail?
    3. Are the participants named and how? - use of title, use of abbreviated, familiar names?
    4.Word connotations - nouns: description of people and things and the associations that will be picked up by readers? verbs - description of actions and processes and the associations that will be picked up by readers?
    5. What kind of adverbials are used? - time, place, manner

    Grammar

    Headlines
    1. What is the structure? -NP(noun phrase), simple, compound, complex sentences?
    2. Do the straplines and subheadings explain or qualify the main headline?
    3. Is the passive voice used?
    4. Is there any ambiguity? -intentional to create humorous tone or accidental
    Reports
    1. Is the sentence structure varied? - simple/compound/complex
    2. is the passive voice used with or without an agent?
    3. Direct speech? - formal or informal tone/adding weight to argument or giving ordinary people's view/variation in pace
    4.Indirect speech? - summary of formal speech/paraphrase to make speaker's response more fluent?

    Metaphorical language

    1. Do any metaphors make the text more dramatic/make abstract issues more concrete?
    2. Is there any repetition? - emphasis on key words/phrases/clauses, making headlines and text more dramatic or notable?
    3. Are there any puns used to attract attention? - humorous, clever, informal, colloquial?

    Typographical features

    1. Does capitalization attract readers?
    2. Is there any variation in print size and why?
    3. Is any color used?


    These are just some of the features that yo need to answer in order to analyze the article.

    As regards genre, I thought it is an economic newspaper article (are their any other genres that are more fitting?).
    It actually is an economic article, but with some political issues.

    You are on a right track. Why don't you analyze the whole text step by step as mentioned above, and then post it to discuss it?

    PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR GRAMMAR!!!!

  3. #3
    Amy44 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Text from Economist (which genre)

    Hey,

    first of all, many thanks for the overview. I've already tried to analyze as much as possible. Here are my results:

    Register
    1. Mode is obviously written. -> what do you mean by that?
    2. Manner - what is the relationship between the participants (journalist and reader), formal or informal? -> mainly formal, a few colloquial words like "whopper"
    3. Function - to inform, persuade, entertain and so on? -> I think the most important function is to inform, the last sentence "so expect a few more fireworks" makes me think that the reader is incorporated and shall even raise interest in the fact that the readers read more about how this dispute continuous
    4. Field - what is the subject matter
    Obama's imposed a tariff on tires, which angers China

    Lexis

    Headlines
    1. Style - is it simple, easy readable, appropriate, impact created?
    easy readable, not too complex economic words, metaphors make the text more interesting, certain things are explained (e.g. Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act), but is it assumed that the reader already knows sth. about the topic or at least the U.S. (e.g. it is not stated who Obama is (yes, everyone knows who is he, but still, in some newspapers they always start with President Barack Obama, the economist only states Barack Obama), Congress, ...) -> text is for "more intelligent" (can't think of another word) people as is the Economist as a whole
    2. What are the connotations of words chosen?
    What do you mean? There are collocations like "to allay fears, ..."
    3. What kinds of modifiers are used?
    adverbs, adjectives, elliptical sentences, time phrases, ...
    4. Does the headline catch a reader's attention? yes, it is written in bold and has a large size, uses metaphor -> same word (fire) is also addressed in the last sentence (fireworks)
    5. What is the target group according to the headline? people who are interested in economic/political affairs in general, people who want to read about Obama's actions, ...
    Reports
    1. Are the words chosen formal or informal?
    apart from a view exceptions (whopper), mainly formal
    2. Do modifiers express precise detail?
    presumably -> expresses doubt
    time phrases -> reference to future, past, ...
    adjectives -> "explain" noun further, e.g. angry reaction
    3. Are the participants named and how? - use of title, use of abbreviated, familiar names?
    Well, Obama and President Hu
    -> Obama is only referred to as Barack Obama in the first sentence and then only as "he" or "Mr Obama" (other texts vary, but most of them use "Obama" instead of "Mr Obama"
    -> President Hu is explained -> China's President
    -> quotes made by reliable sources (Reuters, Dartmouth College people) => make text/arguments more credible
    4.Word connotations - nouns: description of people and things and the associations that will be picked up by readers? verbs - description of actions and processes and the associations that will be picked up by readers?
    generally a lot of economic and political vocab, words associated with US and China, military/conflict words
    verbs are mainly active, passive is only used when agent is unknown or when it is stylistically more appropriate (I think)
    - action verbs (succumb, start, trigger, retaliate, create, act)
    - verbal: say, not, insist, announce, ..
    - relational: is, ..
    - feeling, thinking, seeing: fell, want, see
    5. What kind of adverbials are used? - time, place, manner
    all of them, but mainly time and manner

    Grammar

    Headlines
    1. What is the structure? -NP(noun phrase), simple, compound, complex sentences?
    mixture between simple sentences (main clauses) and combinations between main clause and main clause or main clause and different subclauses (subclauses are mainly relative, casual, temporal, conditional; but also a few local subclauses)
    2. Do the straplines and subheadings explain or qualify the main headline?
    What is a strapline? The subheading summarises the content of the text
    3. Is the passive voice used?
    yes, but more active
    4. Is there any ambiguity? -intentional to create humorous tone or accidental
    I couldn't find any
    Reports
    1. Is the sentence structure varied? - simple/compound/complex
    yes, simple sentences, but also more complex sentences, also elliptical sentences
    2. is the passive voice used with or without an agent?
    without
    3. Direct speech? - formal or informal tone/adding weight to argument or giving ordinary people's view/variation in pace
    formal, making the previous "claim" more credible -> the quote says more or less exactly what the author has mentioned in the sentence before
    4.Indirect speech? - summary of formal speech/paraphrase to make speaker's response more fluent?
    yes, but only rarely

    Metaphorical language

    1. Do any metaphors make the text more dramatic/make abstract issues more concrete?
    metaphors yes, like "playing with fire"
    idioms "to no avail"
    I think they make the text more interesting to read, but I guess it also adds emphasis/drama
    2. Is there any repetition? - emphasis on key words/phrases/clauses, making headlines and text more dramatic or notable?
    yes, key phrases (US, China, political words, conflict words, economic words...), pronouns/substitutes, synonyms, ...
    3. Are there any puns used to attract attention? - humorous, clever, informal, colloquial? even you can count "playing with fire" - then yes, I think it shows that the issue is serious and can easily get out of control

    Typographical features

    1. Does capitalization attract readers? no capitalization, just large headlines; only the first two words are in capital letters, but I guess this is the style of the Economist because all articles had this feature
    2. Is there any variation in print size and why? apart from the headings, no
    3. Is any color used? nope, only one pictures to illustrate the situation and one statistic to provide evidence


    So, I hope my analysis is correct. I also have found a few more features, but I don't think they are that relevant here.

    As regards the function of the text, I'm not quite sure. I found that following:
    - informative: lots of info (Smoot-Hawley, situation in China, G20 meeting, China's reaction to the situation, ...)
    - expressive: metaphers and if you can count "Playing with fire" as a pun, then also a pun
    - argumentative: "Some of this is hyperbole" + explanation why; "Politically, Obama may have felt he had little choice" + explanation why

    Are these correct?

    I've read that a news article is normally more informative (no expressive features), one paragraph consists of only up to three lines, it has an introduction (which is often bold I have noticed), no real transitions so that the text can easily be shortened (my text has lots of transitions and leaving out one part would mean that it doesn't make sense anymore) ... -> so I would conclude that the text in question is not a news article

    But I don't think it is an essay, either. Because there is no real thesis (except if you take "America has started an alarming trade row with China"). But then, on the other hand, it also does not present a real position, but rather evaluates positive and negative things (why he had to act and why he didn't have to, why China is also responsible to some extent, ...). And in the end, there is no real summary of the points or something, but rather a link to the controversy over China's WTO entry.

    I've also read about editorials, but the one that is in the Economist (about the same topic, and in the same issue) is much more evaluative and subjective then my article.

    Furthermore, I also tried to find elements of a commentary in it, but I think a commentary is much more subjective and also the features I found on the internet, don't really fit to my text.

    So I guess the article in question is just an economic article with political elements based on the above-mentioned functions (informative, expressive and argumentative)??? Is this possible? Or is the argumentative function rather an evaluative one? Which one dominates? I would say the informative function is the most important.

    It would be really great if you or someone else could comment on my findings. Feel free to correct me . Should you need any further information, please let me know. Thanks a lot.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Text from Economist (which genre)

    Register
    1. Mode is obviously written. -> what do you mean by that?The mode is a way in which a text that is supposed to be analyzed is represented. The mode can be written or spoken.
    2. Manner - what is the relationship between the participants (journalist and reader), formal or informal? -> mainly formal, a few colloquial words like "whopper" Specify what makes you think that it's more formal. Use some examples from the article. And yes, it is mainly formal but with some informal elements. Try to find them. Write some of the colloquial words from the article.
    3. Function - to inform, persuade, entertain and so on? -> I think the most important function is to inform, the last sentence "so expect a few more fireworks" makes me think that the reader is incorporated and shall even raise interest in the fact that the readers read more about how this dispute continuous I agree, but not only informative.
    4. Field - what is the subject matter
    Obama's imposed a tariff on tires, which angers China

    Lexis

    Headlines
    1. Style - is it simple, easy readable, appropriate, impact created?
    easy readable, not too complex economic words, metaphors make the text more interesting Specify those metaphors , certain things are explained (e.g. Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act), but is it assumed that the reader already knows sth. about the topic If the reader already knows, the function would also be to persuade. or at least the U.S. (e.g. it is not stated who Obama is (yes, everyone knows who is he, but still, in some newspapers they always start with President Barack Obama, the economist only states Barack Obama), Congress, ...) -> text is for "more intelligent" (can't think of another word) people as is the Economist as a whole. I wouldn't say MORE INTELLIGENT but MORE CONVERSANT PEOPLE.
    2. What are the connotations of words chosen?
    What do you mean? There are collocations like "to allay fears, ..." Connotation - are there certain words that increase the effect that a journalist wants to create, or words that emphasize that the story will be about something interesting or to suggest an extraordinary event. More precisely, think why some words are used instead of others more common?
    3. What kinds of modifiers are used?
    adverbs, adjectives, elliptical sentences, time phrases, ...Specify the elliptic sentences
    4. Does the headline catch a reader's attention? yes, it is written in bold and has a large size, uses metaphor -> same word (fire) is also addressed in the last sentence (fireworks)
    5. What is the target group according to the headline? people who are interested in economic/political affairs in general, people who want to read about Obama's actions, ...
    Reports
    1. Are the words chosen formal or informal?
    apart from a view exceptions (whopper), mainly formal Write those exceptions
    2. Do modifiers express precise detail?
    presumably -> expresses doubt
    time phrases -> reference to future, past, ...
    adjectives -> "explain" noun further, e.g. angry reaction
    3. Are the participants named and how? - use of title, use of abbreviated, familiar names?
    Well, Obama and President Hu
    -> Obama is only referred to as Barack Obama in the first sentence and then only as "he" or "Mr Obama" (other texts vary, but most of them use "Obama" instead of "Mr Obama"
    -> President Hu is explained -> China's President
    -> quotes made by reliable sources (Reuters, Dartmouth College people) => make text/arguments more credible Why are they named that way? What is the purpose of that? Why does the journalist say Obama instead of President Obama, why is President Hu explained and Obama isn't?
    4.Word connotations - nouns: description of people and things and the associations that will be picked up by readers? verbs - description of actions and processes and the associations that will be picked up by readers?
    generally a lot of economic and political vocab, words associated with US and China, military/conflict words
    verbs are mainly active, passive is only used when agent is unknown or when it is stylistically more appropriate (I think)
    - action verbs (succumb, start, trigger, retaliate, create, act)
    - verbal: say, not, insist, announce, ..
    - relational: is, ..
    - feeling, thinking, seeing: fell, want, see Use some examples from the article
    5. What kind of adverbials are used? - time, place, manner
    all of them, but mainly time and manner Specify some of them.

    Grammar

    Headlines
    1. What is the structure? -NP(noun phrase), simple, compound, complex sentences?
    mixture between simple sentences (main clauses) and combinations between main clause and main clause or main clause and different subclauses (subclauses are mainly relative, casual, temporal, conditional; but also a few local subclauses)
    2. Do the straplines and subheadings explain or qualify the main headline?
    What is a strapline? The Strepline (also Overline) is the secondary headline that appears above the main one, used to provide extra information or to clarify the main headline. The subheading summarises the content of the text
    3. Is the passive voice used?
    yes, but more active which implies that the article is not overmuch formal. Put some examples of the passive voice.
    4. Is there any ambiguity? -intentional to create humorous tone or accidental
    I couldn't find any
    Reports
    1. Is the sentence structure varied? - simple/compound/complex
    yes, simple sentences, but also more complex sentences, also elliptical sentences The sentence structure is varied in order to sustain the interest of the reader.
    2. is the passive voice used with or without an agent?
    without
    3. Direct speech? - formal or informal tone/adding weight to argument or giving ordinary people's view/variation in pace
    formal, making the previous "claim" more credible -> the quote says more or less exactly what the author has mentioned in the sentence before in order to provide more accurate details and to make the claim stronger.
    4.Indirect speech? - summary of formal speech/paraphrase to make speaker's response more fluent?
    yes, but only rarely Use some examples of Indirect Speech

    Metaphorical language

    1. Do any metaphors make the text more dramatic/make abstract issues more concrete?
    metaphors yes, like "playing with fire"
    idioms "to no avail"
    I think they make the text more interesting to read, but I guess it also adds emphasis/drama Great
    2. Is there any repetition? - emphasis on key words/phrases/clauses, making headlines and text more dramatic or notable?
    yes, key phrases (US, China, political words, conflict words, economic words...), pronouns/substitutes, synonyms, ... Suppose that the journalist could have used the synonyms, why is there so much repetition
    3. Are there any puns used to attract attention? - humorous, clever, informal, colloquial? even you can count "playing with fire" - then yes, I think it shows that the issue is serious and can easily get out of control No, puns do not make an issue more serious. Pun is usually the humorous use of a word with more than one meaning. Usually informal/colloquial word.

    Typographical features

    1. Does capitalization attract readers? no capitalization, just large headlines; only the first two words are in capital letters, but I guess this is the style of the Economist because all articles had this feature
    2. Is there any variation in print size and why? apart from the headings, no
    3. Is any color used? nope, only one pictures to illustrate the situation and one statistic to provide evidence Does the image dramatise or support the story?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Text from Economist (which genre)

    Great job. I like your analysis. The only thing you should do is to provide examples from the article for each your claim.

    So, I hope my analysis is correct. I also have found a few more features, but I don't think they are that relevant here. The more features you find, the better analysis.

    As regards the function of the text, I'm not quite sure. I found that following:
    - informative: lots of info (Smoot-Hawley, situation in China, G20 meeting, China's reaction to the situation, ...)
    - expressive: metaphers and if you can count "Playing with fire" as a pun, then also a pun
    - argumentative: "Some of this is hyperbole" + explanation why; "Politically, Obama may have felt he had little choice" + explanation why

    Are these correct?

    I've read that a news article is normally more informative (no expressive features), one paragraph consists of only up to three lines, it has an introduction (which is often bold I have noticed), no real transitions so that the text can easily be shortened (my text has lots of transitions and leaving out one part would mean that it doesn't make sense anymore) ... -> so I would conclude that the text in question is not a news article Articles do convey the information, but their function can very often be persuasive and entertaining, depending on the newspaper. Sure it's not an essay. It is a broadsheet article.

    But I don't think it is an essay, either. Because there is no real thesis (except if you take "America has started an alarming trade row with China"). But then, on the other hand, it also does not present a real position, but rather evaluates positive and negative things (why he had to act and why he didn't have to, why China is also responsible to some extent, ...). And in the end, there is no real summary of the points or something, but rather a link to the controversy over China's WTO entry.

    I've also read about editorials, but the one that is in the Economist (about the same topic, and in the same issue) is much more evaluative and subjective then my article.

    Furthermore, I also tried to find elements of a commentary in it, but I think a commentary is much more subjective and also the features I found on the internet, don't really fit to my text.

    So I guess the article in question is just an economic article with political elements based on the above-mentioned functions (informative, expressive and argumentative)??? Yes Is this possible? Sure it is. Or is the argumentative function rather an evaluative one? I don't think so.Which one dominates? I would say the informative function is the most important. I agree.

    If you have further questions, feel free to ask. Great job.

  6. #6
    minaigao is offline Newbie
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    Smile Re: Text from Economist (which genre)

    This kind of articles is what I'm looking for. I just a beginner in text analysis.
    But I want to know the theory foundation of the method, is it Halliday's Systemic Functional Grammar? I don't find the exclusive terms. Thank you.

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