It was an absolute pleasure to receive the Young Scholar Award at the 2015 EATS Conference for my paper entitled ‘What's in a Name? A Corpus-Cognitive Analysis of Synonymy and Metaphor in Lee Teng-hui’s Rhetoric’. It was my first time to attend an EATS conference and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many scholars from various fields and from all over the world. I truly appreciate the opportunity to interact with like-minded peers that the board members and the local organizers managed to create.
The paper that I read at EATS was on how metaphor is systematically used in the Taiwanese presidential rhetoric and how that reflects the socio-cultural context of language use. The research is methodologically based on Corpus Linguistics, collecting a representative language sample from Mr. Lee Teng-hui’s speeches. I use the Contemporary Theory of Metaphor as my analytical framework. I find that the president’s different ways of referring to the same country (zhonghuaminguo ‘the Republic of China’, taiwan ‘Taiwan’, guojia ‘(the) country’) are associated with very different metaphors (BUILDING, PLANT, etc.) and with different syntactic constructions, each having its ideological function. The result is meaningful both to Corpus-Cognitive linguistics and to Taiwan Studies. It first of all shows how Taiwan can provide a fertile testing ground to linguistic theorizing given the intricate socio-cultural factors behind the language use in Taiwanese politics. In addition, the result shows how Corpus-Cognitive Linguistics is capable of providing empirical evidence for ideological analyses and that it should be integrated as a useful approach to Taiwan Studies.
After the conference I have been tied up with teaching (currently in the English Department) and course preparation (from September on teaching in the Chinese Program), and my post-doc project is finishing 30 September so there has been a lot of paperwork. But I do expect to get back to finishing the paper and submit it to a journal by the end of 2015.
I would like to express again my sincere appreciation towards the EATS, the board members, the local organizers and the enthusiastic participants. It was my great pleasure to be part of the conference.
Wei-lun Lu received his Ph.D. in linguistics from National Taiwan University. He will become a member of the Chinese Program at Masaryk University starting September 2015.
Joycelin Yi-hsuan Lai
I started my PhD at King’s College London, UK in September 2011and I am nearing its completion. I have a BA degree in Economics from National Taiwan University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from National Taiwan Normal University. I have worked for a TV production company, a publicity company, and for the National Science and Technology Museum in Taiwan before commencing my PhD.
The relationship between media, gender, and nation (culture) interests me because I have witnessed the post-KMT political democratisation and TV deregulation and pluralisation over the 1990s and 2000s. The Taiwanese TV liberalisation policy, administered since the early 1990s, has generated a highly laissez-faire TV market, which allows free imports of foreign media, thus creating a high level of competition among domestic TV channels. The domestic TV industry has consequently relied heavily on regional-scale operation by export-orientation, co-production and talent exchange.
I have noticed that female-oriented TV productions tend to operate at a regional scale. This knowledge has led me to learn about their production and consumption and their interaction with several nationalist discourses competing for dominance in Taiwan with a critical media and cultural studies approach. My master’s thesis analyses the cross-strait TV co-production of female TV dramas during the 1990s, a part of which was rewritten into an essay published in the Taiwan-based journal Mass Communication Research (in Chinese). The essay analyses how the commercial free-to-view TV and TV producers during 1989 and 1992 ‘contested’ the KMT’s initial regulation on their interaction with the PRC TV and formulated favouring policies and regulations to their own benefit.
In my PhD, I examine the young-female-oriented idol dramas’ crossovers and multi-faceted representations of globalised Taiwanese people in East Asia in the twenty-first century. The essay that I presented in the 2015 EATS Conference is based on my PhD. I am very happy that it won the Young Scholar Award as it really helps my academic career. The essay currently entitled ‘Imaging Taiwanese in East Asia: The Taiwanese Inter-Asian Idol Dramas in the Twenty-First Century’ investigates the inter-Asia imaginations in the female-oriented idol dramas, in particular the dialogues with the PRC, Japanese and South Korean markets. The dialogues form a multi-faceted system of images that together refract the Taiwanese inter-Asian economic and cultural relationships. They articulate Taiwanese perspectives of inter-Asian cultural and social differences and provide templates concerning values, individualities and identities to their target audiences in Taiwan and beyond. Serving the economic interests of the media businesses, they compromise the dominant value systems in the PRC, Japan and South Korea as they address the economic and cultural imperatives of cross-cultural interactions.
I participated in the EATS conference for the first time in 2015. I am very honoured to meet many European researchers who have devoted their research to the study of Taiwan. The discussions are very helpful and insightful to me. Several points have benefitted my thinking, particularly the differences of ‘Taiwan’ as a country and as an identity between the official and non-official public spaces, between the male and female public spaces, and between the mainstream and the marginal public spaces. More official, mainstream or male-centred public spaces tend to suppress various powerless voices from social groups in Taiwan, which instead are more likely to present themselves in unofficial, marginal, minor or female-centred public spaces. The distinctions are important frames when analysts examine the duality of Taiwanese representations in the political, economic and cultural fields of the global world. I am interested in the discrepancies and intersections between them.
Joycelin Yi-hsuan Lai is a PhD candidate in Culture media and creative industries, King's College London, University of London