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Assignment 3


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Karen's Assignment 3: Language, Discourse and Power

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Assignment 3

  1. 1. Media Control of our Perception of Events An examination of a Dominion Post report and Te Karere Ipurangi news of the decision made by the New Zealand Geographic board that Wanganui should be spelt “Whanganui.”
  2. 2. The tension between English and Maori language in New Zealand <ul><li>After European colonization, English the dominant language </li></ul><ul><li>1867- Maori school children to be only taught in English </li></ul><ul><li>120 years before Maori language gained official status. </li></ul><ul><li>Most commonly used language in NZ remains English. </li></ul><ul><li>Following more widespread use of Te Reo Maori, attention was paid to its use and correct pronunciation. </li></ul><ul><li>The media has a major influence on the acceptance of the Maori language into mainstream society. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Is this due to political correctness or cultural hegemony? <ul><li>English: the language of governance with Maori consent </li></ul><ul><li>Highest status educational facilities mostly English. </li></ul><ul><li>Most popular and widespread media in English. </li></ul><ul><li>Media message in English wields most power. Media reconstructions of events may be fueling divisions between groups in the community that feel under threat. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Reports on the Group with official status approving ‘h’ for Wanganui. <ul><li>The New Zealand Geographic Board says ‘yes’ to adding ‘h’. </li></ul><ul><li>Dominion Post report published on , 17 September </li></ul><ul><li>And </li></ul><ul><li>Te Karere Ipurangi report published on , 17 September. </li></ul><ul><li>The style of the two articles is compared. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Dominion Post’s report: Mayor Michael Laws speaks first <ul><li>“ Laws: Wanganui upset over ‘h’ decision </li></ul><ul><li>Laws speaks for all ” angry, upset, disappointed ” </li></ul><ul><li>Speaks for council, it will ” fight for democratic rights ” </li></ul><ul><li>Knows Wanganui not Maori word, but claims it has “culture, heritage and mana ” of its own. </li></ul><ul><li>Has “ always been confident in democracy ” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Media’s influence on the reader’s perception <ul><li>The first part of the report sets the scene . </li></ul><ul><li>Order of selected dialogue is arranged. </li></ul><ul><li>Details included,e.g.”Mr. Laws said at a packed </li></ul><ul><li>press conference” empower his message. </li></ul><ul><li>Also, strong words e.g. “ fight for democratic rights. </li></ul><ul><li>The media tries to disassociate itself carefully from Laws’ view by placing quotation marks around the strongest words e.g. “ racist ” </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Board is portrayed negatively <ul><li>“ ruling ” that the city’s spelling ‘ must ’, suggest a dictatorial stand. </li></ul><ul><li>Its decision was ‘ racist’ , ‘ biased ’ </li></ul><ul><li>It ‘ failed to take referendum results into account.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Later, in the report, the Board’s actions are reported in a balanced way, but by then the reader has been exposed to the negative side. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Dominion post interviews Tariana Turia <ul><li>The report of her interview is the second feature. </li></ul><ul><li>The title is vague. “Turia: ‘Right thing to do’ </li></ul><ul><li>She ‘wept’ – the reader learns immediately. A lot of old people wept. Her words are soft, her arguments gentle and rather weak. </li></ul><ul><li>She is quotes, “It’s about who we are, it’s about our genealogy.” </li></ul><ul><li>The contrast is clear. It reflects otherization, racism and sexism. </li></ul><ul><li>Was it unintentional? </li></ul>
  9. 9. ‘ H’ in Wanganui the ‘right thing to do’ : the title of the article on <ul><li>Te Karere Ipurangi reported the same information as the Dominion Post, but organized it differently. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Turia says her people wept ”. </li></ul><ul><li>An acknowledgement that it will ‘ anger most residents ” </li></ul><ul><li>Then a reiteration that ‘many of our old people wept ” </li></ul><ul><li>The spelling change was ‘the right thing to do, ” she said. </li></ul>
  10. 10. How the Dominion Post places more value on one side at the expense of the other and influences what readers perceive as reality. <ul><li>Creating a pecking order: Laws first . </li></ul><ul><li>Selecting dialogue: Strong vs weak. </li></ul><ul><li>Rearranging sequence of events: Facts last. </li></ul><ul><li>Drawing attention to details: Turia wept. </li></ul><ul><li>Vocabulary choice: “ fight for democratic rights ” vs “ its about who we are ” </li></ul><ul><li>To be continued in Assignment 5. </li></ul>