Article published in:Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada/Spanish Journal of Applied Linguistics
Vol. 27:1 (2014) ► pp. 208–237
Lexico-grammatical stance in Spanish news reportage
Socio-political influences on que-complement clauses and adverbials in Ecuadorian broadsheets
The small South American country of Ecuador has recently come to international attention for perceived threats to journalistic freedom: first a major defamation lawsuit against El Universo (filed in March 2011) for unfounded criticisms of President Correa, and more recently passage of a highly controversial law of communications in June, 2013. Due to these developments, there is reason to believe that media reportage in Ecuador will currently be highly circumspect in the expression of opinions and evaluations, discourse functions that have been investigated under the umbrella of ‘stance’ in previous linguistic investigations. However, the situation of media language use in Ecuador is further interesting in that there are both government newspapers as well as privately owned newspapers competing on the open market. Presumably these different newspapers will not be affected in the same ways by the legal actions of the last few years.To investigate that possibility, the present study documents the lexico-grammatical expression of stance in a large corpus of Ecuadorian newspaper reportage, comparing and contrasting the expression of stance in two major newspapers: El Telégrafo, controlled by the government, and El Comercio, a privately owned outlet. The study focuses on two major types of lexico-grammatical features used to express stance: que-complement clauses and adverbials. Although the two newspapers are quite similar in the devices preferred for the expression of stance, the analysis also identifies systematic patterns of difference. Surprisingly, the results show that it is the government-controlled newspaper that consistently expresses stance to a greater extent than the privately-owned paper. These results are interpreted relative to the recent legal events in Ecuador, perhaps indicating increased scrutiny of media reportage in the private sector than in the public sector.
Keywords: newspaper discourse, Ecuador, stance, corpus, Spanish
Published online: 08 August 2014
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