Book: Hybridity in Systemic Functional Linguistics
Chapter: 14. The permeable context of institutional and newspaper discourse: A corpus-based functional case study of the European sovereign debt crisis
Like Thompson, Sabrina Fusari investigates register hybridity by combining SFL with Corpus Linguistics. After a brief theoretical overview, her case study of the European sovereign debt crisis as represented in newspaper and institutional discourse is presented. Analysis revolves around two specially prepared corpora comprising: 1) articles from The Financial Times, and 2) official documents released by the Council of Europe, all on the debt crisis, published between 9 and 15 December 2011. The keywords investigated (‘eurozone’, ‘debt’, ‘banks’, ‘growth’) prove to be used differently in the two corpora, both in phraseological and in grammatical terms, and this impacts on how the same crisis and, by extension, the role of European institutions, are represented in the two registers. Findings show that, despite the mutual influence between institutional and newspaper discourse, different views on the debt crisis, and potential ways out of it, are upheld by the City of London (which The Financial Times may be considered to represent) and by EU institutions. Finally, the synergy between SFL and Corpus Linguistics proves a valuable instrument for analysing register hybridity (and ‘idiosyncrasy’, Miller and Johnson 2009), potentially increasing its effectiveness as more sophisticated SFL-aware corpus annotation tools become available.