Linguistics researcher published in top-rated journal

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A researcher in the Department of English, Culture and Communication at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University has had his work on applied linguistics published in an influential journal.

Dr Songqing Li’s research article, “Identity Constructions in Bilingual Advertising: A Critical-Cognitive Approach”, was published in Applied Linguistics, a top-rated journal from Oxford University Press.

The focus of the interdisciplinary article is the “interplay between the local politics of English, identity and society”, asking the question of whether English always plays an important role in constructing identities within multimodal adverts.

“Multimodal” describes communication practices in terms of the textual, aural, linguistic, spatial, and visual resources - or modes - used to compose messages.

The article calls into question the English-centered methodology widely adopted for identity study in bilingual advertising and suggests the need for critical research into identity constructions in bilingual advertising within the academic dialogue between World Englishes and critical sociolinguistics.

It proposes the incorporation of a cognitive-linguistic perspective into the methodological framework of intertextuality within critical discourse analysis. This integrated approach is an evidence-based account of whether, and to what extent, English plays an important role in identity constructions and their connection to the local politics of English.

Through analysing three examples of Chinese-English bilingual ads that are representative of the structural features of English mixing, the approach is proved to be analytically powerful and productive not only in capturing the varying degrees of the contribution of the English language and its role but also in unravelling the ideological dimensions of identity and the English language.

The article concludes with a suggestion of the wider applicability of the approach to other bilingual or multilingual contexts that are currently regarded as suitable for study. It was commended as making a “valuable contribution to the existing literature on bi/multilingual advertising” by one of three anonymous reviewers.

Dr Li (pictured above at a conference), who has been at XJTLU since completing his PhD at National University of Singapore in 2010, said: “It is widely acknowledged by scholars that the first five years of an academic career are of fundamental importance to a PhD holder. This publication means so much to me. It not only affirms my commitment to high-quality research, but also makes me fairly confident of the aims and objectives set for my research in the future.

“The University should take pride in the efforts it has been making to create a positive research environment for academic staff.”

Dr Li’s research interests mainly include bilingualism, (critical) discourse analysis, cognitive linguistics, English as a global language, and multimodality.

His recent publication “English in the linguistic landscape of Suzhou” appears in English Today (Cambridge). Applied Linguistics publishes research into language with relevance to real-world problems, in collaboration with the International Association for Applied Linguistics and the British Association for Applied Linguistics. The journal requires articles to represent “outstanding scholarship and make original contributions” to the field.

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