格式: AZW3, DOCX, EPUB, MOBI, PDF, TXT
本研究建立了中英文两个小型语料库：中文语料库由中国内地18家上市公司的54封主席函件组成；英文语料库由美国18家上市公司的54封主席函件组成。文本取自这些上市公司2010至2012年的年度报告。通过应用ESP（English for Specific Purposes）学派的体裁分析理论、古典修辞学的劝说模式以及Hyland（2005）的元话语人际模型，本书探讨了中美主席函件的语步结构（move structure）以及两组语料为实现劝说目的所使用的语言手段。此外，还结合两国的社会文化语境，对研究中发现的跨文化异同进行了讨论。
Modern businesses dedicate a great deal of time and resources to financial disclosure, i.e.the periodic reporting of their financial results.It has become a crucial component of corporate communication.During the last three decades or so,corporate financial disclosure practices have been increasingly investigated from a variety of angles.From the perspective of language use,scholars in the field of linguistics and associated disciplines have explored such issues as linguistic features and communication strategies of different genres of financial disclosure.
In today's business context,financial disclosure genres are often used more than simply to communicate financial information,and thus cannot be categorized as merely informative.As a matter of fact,many western scholars have detected the underlying promotional and persuasive tendency of various corporate disclosure documents through linguistic and discourse studies.However,little attention has been paid to this research field by domestic scholars,related studies being very limited.
This book inquires into one of the most common written financial genres-corporate annual report（CAR）,which is used by listed companies to disclose their financial information during the past fiscal year.A typical CAR is a lengthy document which consists of several sections.Some are mainly technical and numerical（such as financial statements）; while other sections（such as chairman's letter,management's discussion and analysis,etc.）are more narrative and descriptive,likely to be manipulated to promote the positive results of a company so as to persuade readers of its soundness and future worth.This book focuses on chairman's letter（CL）,a typical narrative section within CAR,and looks into the persuasive dimension of this type of discourse.
Two small corpora have been built for this research,one including 54 CLs issued by 18 mainland Chinese listed companies and the other containing 54 CLs released by 18 US listed companies.The CLs are extracted from the annual reports published by these companies between the year of 2010 and 2012.Drawing on ESP School's genre analysis theory,the means of persuasion in classical rhetoric and Hyland's（2005）Interpersonal Model of Metadiscourse,the book first explores the move structure of the American and Chinese texts,and then examines the linguistic devices used in the two sets of data for accomplishing the persuasive end.Besides,cross-cultural similarities and variations identified in the inquiry are discussed within the two socio-cultural contexts.
Through the move structure analysis,it can be found that the American and Chinese CLs exhibit an identical six-move structure,but variations exist in the frequencies of the six moves and their corresponding steps.Findings indicate that both American and Chinese CLs perform an underlying persuasive function though these letters appear to serve an informative intention.Despite the differences between the two corpora in the strategies that realize each move,the similarities seem to dominate,suggesting shared communication practices of American and Chinese listed companies in the context of globalization.The analysis of the metadiscourse markers used in the American and Chinese CLs reveals that these markers play an important role in the construction of persuasion.They are widely employed by both American and Chinese executives to realize the three means of persuasion in classical rhetoric-logos,ethos,and pathos,thereby enhancing the overall persuasiveness of those letters.However,the frequencies and distribution of most of these markers display quite different characteristics in the two corpora,which demonstrate notable cross-cultural variations in the way of attaining persuasion.The major cross-cultural variations identified in the above investigations are further discussed by referring to some previous socio-cognitive and cultural studies.
This book has several implications,from both the theoretical and practical perspectives.Theoretically,it has validated the effectiveness of combining genre analysis theory,classical rhetoric and metadiscourse research in the investigation of persuasion.This analytical framework can be adopted to probe into other financial disclosure genres in future studies.Practically,this book can help consumers of corporate financial documents develop a critical sense,making visible to them the often subtle persuasive undercurrent in such texts.Besides,it also provides insights into the corporate communication practices in Chinese and American socio-cultural contexts,thus contributing to the cross-cultural business communication.From the pedagogical perspective,this book may help students majoring in business,finance and other related disciplines become more aware of the rhetorical strategies employed in financial discourses,which may improve their capabilities of reading and writing these texts and hence better prepare them for their future professional practices.And it can also offer new input to update the teaching materials of such courses as business communication.
The research included in this book mainly comes from my doctoral dissertation completed in 2015.Upon its publication,I would like to express my appreciation to many people who have generously lent their support and encouragement in the writing and revision of this work.First and foremost,my deepest gratitude goes to my doctoral supervisor Prof.Yu Dongming.He provided me with thoughtful suggestions from the proposal stage through to the finished product.His insights and guidance have enriched my knowledge not only in this piece of work but also throughout my doctoral study.His profound knowledge and rigorous attitude towards academic research have set me a good example,encouraging me to forge ahead with my work and research.I am indebted to Prof.He Zhaoxiong,Prof.Xu Yulong,Prof.Shu Dingfang,Prof.Mei Deming,and Prof.Xu Haiming at Shanghai International Studies University.Their enlightening courses and lectures have stretched my thinking and broadened my perspective.I am also thankful to my classmates at SISU for their help and inspiration.My special thanks go to Chen Zheng and Zhou En,with whom I had a lot of academic discussions and from whose knowledge sharing I have benefited tremendously.I also want to show my gratitude to my family for their love,support and understanding during this academic journey.Last,but not the least,I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to the leadership team at the School of Languages,Shanghai University of International Business and Economics for their help and support,and the editors of Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press for their careful and efficient editing job,which guarantees the quality of this book.
List of Abbreviations1.Abbreviations of Chinese Companies'Names
CCB-China Construction Bank Corporation
China Agri-China Agri-industries Holdings Limited
China Foods-China Foods Limited
China Life-China Life Insurance Company Limited
China Shenhua-China Shenhua Energy Company Limited
CITIC-China CITIC Bank Corporation Limited
CMB-China Merchants Bank Co.,Ltd.
CPIC-China Pacific Insurance（Group） Co.,Ltd
Digital China-Digital China Holdings Limited
Dongfeng-Dongfeng Motor Group Company Limited
Geely-Geely Automobile Holdings Limited
Great Wall-Great Wall Motor Company Limited
Mengniu-China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited
PetroChina-PetroChina Company Limited
Ping An-Ping An Insurance （Group）Company of China,Ltd.
Sinopec-China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation
Tencent-Tencent Holdings Limited
ZTE-ZTE Corporation2.Abbreviations of American Companies'Names
ADM-Archer Daniels Midland Company
AIG-American International Group, Inc.
Bank of America-Bank of America Corporation
Coca-Cola-The Coca-Cola Company
Ford-Ford Motor Company
GM-General Motors Company
TRW-TRW Automotive Holdings
Valero-Valero Energy Corporation3.Abbreviations of Metadiscourse Terms
SM-self mention4.Other Abbreviations
CAR-corporate annual report
CL-chairman's letterList of Tables
List of Tables
Chapter One Introduction
Communication plays an essential role in today's corporate daily operations.Only through effective communication,whether written or spoken,can a business ensure its message is clearly understood and thus produce the outcomes it has expected.Financial communication,especially in the form of financial disclosure,has become a crucial component of corporate communication.Modern businesses dedicate a great deal of time and resources to financial disclosure,i.e.the periodic reporting of their financial results.Although publicly traded companies in many countries are legally required to report their financial information at regular intervals,this type of financial communication has taken on greater significance in the wake of some high-profile financial scandals（such as Enron）and the loss of confidence in the financial markets due to the on-going negative effects of the global financial crisis that broke in 2008.
From the linguistic perspective,the present research focuses on the persuasive dimension of financial disclosure discourse,which has in recent years received much attention from western scholars working in the field of discourse and business communication studies.In this chapter,an overview of the research will be given,including the research background,the rationale for the research,the research objectives,some key notions as well as the organization of the book.1.1 Research Background
During the last three decades,corporate financial disclosure practices have been increasingly investigated from a variety of perspectives.Scholars in the field of accounting and finance have recognized the importance of linguistic and textual data in evaluating the quality of financial disclosure and predicting market sentiment and security prices.Their interest in the language used in financial texts converges with the research of scholars in the field of linguistics and associated disciplines,who have explored such issues as linguistic features,genre conventions,and communication strategies of different genres of financial disclosure.
Swales（1990:58）gives a detailed definition of genre,in which the communicative purposes constitute the rationale for a specific genre:
A genre comprises a class of communicative events,the members of which share some set of communicative purposes.These purposes are recognized by the expert members of the parent discourse community,and thereby constitute the rationale for the genre.This rationale shapes the schematic structure of the discourse and influences and constrains choice of content and style.Communicative purpose is both a privileged criterion and one that operates to keep the scope of a genre as here conceived narrowly focused on comparable rhetorical action.
From the above interpretation of genre,some key parameters can be identified:a class of communicative events,shared communicative purposes,and a specific discourse community.In the corporate context,a financial disclosure genre is used by the corporate community for the purpose of reporting financial results to their stakeholders,i.e.shareholders,investors,customers,employees,as well as the general public.Common financial disclosure genres include annual reports,corporate press releases（especially in the form of earnings releases）,earnings announcements,shareholder circulars,etc.
In today's business context,these financial genres are used more than simply to communicate financial information,and thus in most cases cannot be categorized as merely informative.As Bhatia（2010:39）puts it,corporate disclosure documents"seem to be changing in their function from 'informing and reporting'to increasingly'promoting'the companies by a strategic underplaying of corporate weaknesses".In his study of the interdiscursivity of annual reports produced by 15 Hong Kong Stock Exchange listed companies,Bhatia（ibid.）identifies four distinct types of discourses within an annual report,namely accounting discourse,discourse of economics,public relations discourse,and legal discourse.The major part of a typical annual report could be characterized as accounting discourse,based on the company's financial performance of the preceding fiscal year.The accounting discourse mainly consists of various numbers and calculations displayed in the form of tables and graphs,which have been certified by public accountants to be true and honest representations of the profits and losses of the corporation in question.The discourse of economics usually constitutes the financial review section of an annual report.It offers a discussion and analysis of facts and figures given in the accounting section.However,this kind of interpretation of accounting information"may not be a consistent and true representation of the statistical information"（ibid.:41）,and may be manipulated to understate a relatively weak corporate performance and to project a promising future outlook.The public relations discourse,often in the form of"a letter to shareholders"or"chairman's statement",summarizing the company's past performance and giving predictions about future development,primarily seeks to promote a positive corporate image.Legal discourse,which forms a major part of disclaimers,can be used to disclaim information disclosed in an annual report.Among these four types of discourses,the accounting discourse and public relations discourse reflect two distinct corporate practices,i.e.,legally required accounting procedures and public relations activities.According to Bhatia（ibid.:45）,"by placing public relations discourse within the socio-pragmatic space of the accounting discourse,the readers are encouraged to draw positive implications from this interdiscursive proximity".Similar blends of informational and promotional discourses have been found in other financial genres,including corporate press releases,earnings calls and earnings presentations（McLaren Gurǎu,2005;Maat,2007;Henry,2008;Crawford Camiciottoli,2010ab;etc.）.For instance,Maat（2007）finds evidence of promotional language in the form of evaluative and intensifying adjectives in corporate press releases.Henry（2008）identifies subtle promotional techniques in earnings releases,such as the selective textual commentary of data presented in numerical form,highlighting only positive trends while ignoring negative ones.Crawford Camiciottoli（2010b）investigates the earnings calls of some major multinationals listed on the US stock markets.She notes a strong promotional and persuasive undercurrent in the executives-speeches,in which they emphasized the positive results and expressed optimism for the future.All these studies suggest that even if financial disclosure genres exist to report objective data,they also have an underlying promotional and persuasive dimension,which is the subject of the present study.1.2 Rationale for the Present Study
It is impossible to make a thorough investigation on all sorts of financial disclosure genres in this book.The present research focuses on one of the most common and well-established written financial genres-corporate annual report（CAR）,which is used by listed companies to disclose their financial information during the past fiscal year.A typical CAR consists of several sections.Some are mainly technical and numerical（such as financial statements）,which have been audited by public accountants;while other sections（such as chairman's letter,management's discussion and analysis,etc.）are more narrative and descriptive,likely to be manipulated to promote the positive results of a specific company so as to persuade readers of its soundness and future worth（Bhatia,2010;Malavasi,2006,2007）.For readers with limited skills in analyzing financial statements,they tend to refer to the narrative sections,which may influence investment decisions by strategic language use and thus are the focus of the present research.
As a matter of fact,a number of western studies have examined the narrative portions of CARs.Early research mainly centered upon the readability of the narratives within CARs,adopting formula-based approaches to determine whether messages were written at a level that is beyond the fluent comprehension of their intended audience（Pashalian Crissy,1950;Soper Dolphin,1964;Smith Smith,1971;Pound,1980;Parker,1982;Courtis,1986b）.Some other studies have investigated the readability of annual report texts to determine if companies with good and bad financial records differ in their reading ease（Courtis,1986a;Smith Taffler,1992;Subramanian et al.,1993）.These studies suggest that companies with poor records attempt to cover up their performance with obscure language,while the narratives in CARs of good performers are easier to read than those of poor performers.
From the 1980s,some studies began to adopt content analysis as the analytical tool to probe into the narratives of CARs（such as Ingram Frazier,1983;Bowman,1984;McConnell et al.,1986;Swales,1988;Kohut Segars,1992;etc.）.Ingram and Frazier（1983）identify eight themes by using word frequency investigation in the presiden's letter and management analysis sections of annual reports in three industries.They find a logical relationship between themes and financial characteristics.For example,more profitable companies refer relatively frequently to future growth and less frequently to restructuring plans.Bowman（1984）describes the possible uses of content analysis of annual reports for corporate strategy investigations.The research shows that CEOs have recognized the marketing significance of their messages.Kohut and Segars（1992）examine the content of the president's letters in the highest and lowest performing companies of the Fortune 500 and find that communication strategies differ in terms of subjects emphasized.The results of this research suggest that financial performance influences the manner in which CEOs report annual corporate results.
Later,studies on the narratives of CARs have become more diversified,and more linguistic and discursive studies emerged,especially from the 1990s.Skulstad（1996）explores the rhetorical organization of chairman's statements in annual reports issued by British companies within Swales'（1990）genre analysis framework.He proposes the Relationships and Confidence model that involves three moves:establishing the relationships between the chairman/company and the readers,maintaining confidence,and reinforcing the relationships already established.His research is among the earliest attempts that investigate the rhetorical features of the narratives in CARs.Hyland（1998a）also makes a valuable contribution to this line of research.He focuses on the role of metadiscourse in CEO's letters to shareholders and explores how CEOs attempt to influence the readers' perceptions and project a positive personal and corporate image.Other related discursive studies worth mentioning include Thomas（1997）,Rutherford（2005）and Amernic et al.（2007）.
Based on Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistics,Thomas（1997）examines the verb structures,thematic structure,context and cohesion,and condensations of the management