Representation of ‘China’ in Trump’s Discourse on COVID-19

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Zainab Abd Al-Razaq Mohammad, Raith Zeher Abid


Critical discourse analysis became influential and prominent over throughout recent years. The aim of critical discourse analysis is to observe the relation between language, ideology, and power.  The study aims to investigate the representation of China in Donald Trump’s political speeches. This study is based on Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar, and van Dijk’s concept of the ideological square. Halliday’s model is utilized to analyze the lexico-grammatical structures that Trump uses to represent China throughout COVID-19’s speeches from the 26th of February until the 22nd of September. On the other hand, van Dijk’s ideological square approach is employed to examine the dichotomy of Us (represented by America) versus Them (represented by China). The study consisted of fourteen press conferences elected from the period 26-February-2020, to 22-September-2020 which is restricted to COVID-19’s spreading throughout America. The study’s findings revealed that material processes are prominent throughout Trump’s discourse. Moreover, the results showed that before the spreading of COVID-19 across America and Europe, Trump’s political speeches reflected a positive stance toward China. However, after the spreading of COVID-19 across America and the rest of the world, Trump’s speeches reflected more negative stances towards China, as he started to hold it responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

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