Globalization in the current world promotes increasingly frequent exchanges among various countries, nations, such as political, commercial activities. Being one of the channels to obtain the information from the outer world and know global events, English news has received more and more attentions from researchers. As an important part in news discourse, reported speech plays a crucial role in enhancing the objectivity, impartiality and authenticity of news. Combining quantitative methods with qualitative methods, the study selects 90 news about China in the 40 issues of The Times from January to March as research objects of this study. The aim is to discuss the influence reported speech makes on the objectivity of news discourse from three aspects: news sources, reporting modes, and reporting verbs, thereby cultivating the awareness and ability of Chinese readers to read English news critically.
The study finds that on the one hand, the objectivity of the news about China in The Times is maintained and strengthened by reported speech, on the other hand, the author conveys his attitude and ideologies subtly by utilizing reported speech. Therefore readers should keep a clear mind and maintain a rational way of thinking while reading English news, and understand the subjective position of news writer or media and news events objectively and comprehensively.
Key Words: reported speech; the objectivity of news; The Times
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Research background 1
1.2 Research questions and goals 2
1.3 Data collection and research method 2
1.4 Organization of the paper 3
2 Previous studies of reported speech and the objectivity of news discourse 4
2.1 research preview of reported speech 4
2.1.1 overseas research status on reported speech 4
2.1.2 domestic research status on reported speech 4
2.2 the research aspects of objectivity of reported speech of news discourse 5
3 Reporting modes and the objectivity of news about China 7
3.1 Direct speech 7
3.2 Indirect speech 8
3.3 Preset direct speech 8
4 News sources and the objectivity of news about China 10
4.1 Accurate news sources 10
4.2 Implicit news sources 11
4.3 Zero reference to news sources 11
5 Reporting verbs and the objectivity of news about China 13
5.1 Neutral reporting verbs 15
5.2 Positive reporting verbs 16
5.3 Negative reporting verbs 16
6 Conclusion and Limitations 18
6.1 major findings 18
6.2 limitations and suggestions for future study 18
On reported speech of news about China in The Times
1.1 Research background
The current world witnessed the rapid expansion of globalization and successful enforcement of “one belt, one road” initiative. More and more frequent cross-nation communication urges media to provide information of the outer world for people, namely, news, which not only shapes the world in our eyes, but also guides public opinions. Due to an increasingly significant role it plays, researchers have always been putting high emphasis on news discourse and devoting their time to the study on it. Many are doing this in the method of critical discourse analysis, which proposes to reveal the relation between languages and society, so as to prove that news report contains attitude, opinion and ideology of the reporters or the media.
Reported speech, as a crucial part in news discourse, has attracted more and more attention of researchers. On the one hand it is a means to enhance the objectivity and truthfulness of the news discourse by citing others’ words, on the other hand, the reporters’ attitude can be conveyed and influence the readers’ opinion about the news events unconsciously by choosing different reported modes, news sources and reporting verbs.
However, traditional researches often focus on the structural and grammatical changes when conversions happen from direct speech to indirect speech from the perspective of syntax. Some researchers make use of critical discourse analysis to study on reported speech in different national newspapers but the analysis was merely centered on one aspect of reported speech, such as reporting modes, or news sources. Therefore, integrating quantitative with qualitative analysis, this paper chooses a limited number of news discourse about China from the representative newspaper “The Times” as sample and conducts data statistics and analysis, trying to find the relationship between the reported speech with the objectivity of the news discourse.
1.2 Research questions and goals
As we can see from the above, the central topic of this paper is objectivity. Just as Volosinov (1973) said that the reported speech has been processed actually and the topic of that has been chosen and adjusted in advance, so absolute objectivity remains doubtful. The goal of this research is to find out the effect the reporting modes, news sources, reporting verbs have on the objectivity of news sources. The following research questions will be discussed:
First, what is the overall relationship between the objectivity of news discourse with news sources, reporting verbs and reporting modes of reported speech in “The Times”?
Second, how can the reporter convey his or her attitude and ideology in the news discourse?
Last, what attitude should we hold when reading news discourse?
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