English-language media discourse in the era of digitalisation: Special mission and functional potential

Alla V. Guslyakova, Nina I. Guslyakova, Nailya G. Valeeva, Irina V. Vashunina


The article addresses the problem of the functional potential of the present-day English-language media discourse and its role in English-speaking societies and other countries where English does not have official national status. The purpose of the research is to holistically understand key functions that the English language media discourse is performing in the 21st century. The theoretical framework of this study includes mutually influencing and complementary research doctrines of Halliday’s systemic functional approach, Stuart Hall’s cultural studies approach, and the pragmatic approach of Jeff Verschuren. The findings are based on qualitative and quantitative analyses of scientific works dedicated to the English-language media discourse and a massive media discourse corpus of leading English-language print and online media resources. Overall, the research has proved that the English-language media discourse may perform seven key pragmatic functions (political and economic function, educational function, environmental protection and sustainable development function, integration function, innovative function, cultural diplomacy function, and the social function of sport), which help promote a ‘missionary’ world of democracy and sustainability, affordable education and breakthrough innovations, multiculturalism, national identity and race-free ideology, healthy sport and well-being. Moreover, it is proved that modern English-language media discourse acts as a single holistic information management system whose goal is to become a global influencer and mediator navigating between English-speaking nations and non-English world communities.


English-language media discourse; functional potential; innovation; multiculturalism; sustainable development

Full Text:



#CORONASPEAK - The language of Covid-19 goes viral. (2020, April 16). King’s College London. https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/coronaspeak-the-language-of-covid-19-goes-viral

Abaev, M., & Ezhikhina, M. (2015, December 3). ‘Chelovek mediynyy’ - Novaya stupen’ evolyutsii ili prilozheniye k gadzhetu? [‘Media man’ - A new stage of evolution or an application to a gadget?]. Science and life. https://www.nkj.ru/open/27523/

Auer, S. (2020, December 27). Coronavirus: What has Covid done for climate crisis? BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-55412079

Beck, L., Grayot, J. D. (2021). New functionalism and the social and behavioral sciences. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 103 https://doi.org/10.1007/s13194-021-00420-2

Bell, A. (2002). The language of news media. Blackwell Publishers.

Bertoli, A. D. (2017). Nationalism and conflict: Lessons from international sports. International Studies Quarterly, 61(4), 835-849. https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqx029

Bhagat, C. (2021, August 27). India’s tuition pandemic needs a cure. Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/indias-tuition-pandemic/articleshow/85690019.cms

Biden spends hundreds of billions on reducing student-loan debt. (2022, August 25). The Economist. https://www.economist.com/united-states/2022/08/25/biden-spends-hundreds-of-billions-on-reducing-student-loan-debt

Blaine, N., & Boyle, R. (2005). Sport kak zhizn’: SMI, sport i kul’tura [Sport as life: Mass media, sport and culture]. In A. Briggs & P. Cobley (Eds.), Media. Vvedeniye [Media. Introduction] (2nd ed., pp. 464-475). Uniti-Dana.

Boyle, R., & Haynes, R. (2009). Power play: Sport, the media and popular culture (2nd ed.). Edinburgh University Press.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis. In H. Cooper, P. M. Camic, D. L. Long, A. T. Panter, D. Rindskopf, & K. J. Sher (Eds.), APA handbook of research methods in psychology, Vol. 2: Research designs: Quantitative, qualitative, neuropsychological, and biological (pp. 57-71). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/13620-004

Budd, A., & Levermore, R. (2004). Sport’s role in constructing the ‘inner-state’ worldview. In R. Levermore & A. Budd (Eds.), Sport and international relations: An emerging relationship (pp. 16-30). Routledge.

Butler, C. S. (2005). Functional approaches to language. Pragmatics & Beyond: New Series, 140, 3-17. https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.140.04but

Cotter, C. (2001). Discourse and media. In D. Schiffrin, D. Tannen, & H. E. Hamilton (Eds.), The handbook of discourse analysis (pp. 416-436). Blackwell Publishers.

Crystal, D. (2012). English as a global language (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Demyankov, V. Z. (2000). Funktsionalizm v zarubezhnoy lingvistike kontsa 20 veka [Functionalism in foreign linguistics at the end of the 20th century]. In S. A. Romashko (Ed.), Discourse, speech, speech activity: Functional and structural aspects: Collection of reviews series ‘Theory and History of Linguistics’ RAS (pp. 14-68). Inion.

Educational choices: Why school funding must be equalised. (2022, June 7). The Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/educational-choices-why-school-funding-must-be-equalised-20220606-p5arcm.html

Ershov, Yu. M. (2019). Strimingovyye servisy kak al’ternativnaya praktika molodykh radioslushateley [Streaming services as an alternative practice for young radio listeners]. Mul’timediynaya zhurnalistika: mediakommunikatsii i mediaindustriya. Materialy II Mezhdunarodnoy nauchno-prakticheskoy konferentsii [Multimedia journalism: media communications and media industry]. Proceedings of II international scientific and practical conference, Minsk, Republic of Belarus, March 1, 2019 (pp. 18-23). Belarusian State University.

Fairclough, N. (2013). Critical discourse analysis. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315834368

Filippova, T. A. (2018). Ponyatiye i osnovnyye kharakteristiki ekologicheskogo diskursa (na materiale angloyazychnykh SMI) [The concept and main characteristics of environmental discourse (based on the material of the English-language media)]. Ivzestia of the Volgograd State Pedagogical University, 2, 97-101.

Flew, T. (2016). Entertainment media, cultural power, and post-globalisation: The case of China’s international media expansion and the discourse of soft power. Global Media and China, 1(4), 278-294. https://doi.org/10.1177/2059436416662037

Flowerdew, J. (2013). Discourse in English language education. Routledge.

Fowler, R. (2013). Language in the news: Discourse and ideology in the press. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315002057

Furs, V. N. (2000). Filosofiya nezavershonnogo moderna Yurgena Khabermasa [The philosophy of Jurgen Habermas’s unfinished modernist style]. Econompress.

Gebhard, M., & Accurso, K. (2020). Systemic functional linguistics. In C. Chapelle (Ed.), The concise encyclopedia of applied linguistics (pp. 1029-1037). Wiley.

Goldblatt, D. (2018). The games: A global history of the Olympics. Pan Books.

Grisold, A., & Theine, H. (2020). Now, what exactly is the problem? Media coverage of economic inequalities and redistribution policies: The Piketty case. Journal of Economic Issues, 54(4), 1071-1094. https://doi.org/10.1080/00213624.2020.1829905

Habermas, J. (2015). Knowledge and human interests. Polity.

Hall, S. (1994). Encoding/decoding. In D. Graddol & O. Boyd-Barrett (Eds.), Media texts: Authors and readers (pp. 200-211). Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Halliday, M. (2009). Language and society: Volume 10 (Collected works of M.A.K. Halliday). Bloomsbury Publishing.

Harper, D. (n.d.a). Meritocracy. In Online Etymology Dictionary.com. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from https://www.etymonline.com/word/meritocracy#etymonline_v_31201

Harper, D. (n.d.b). Potential. In Online Etymology Dictionary.com. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from https://www.etymonline.com/word/potential#etymonline_v_18567

Ivan, divan i baraban [Ivan, sofa and drum]. (2012, October 24). Komsomol’skaya Pravda. www.kp.ru/daily/25972.2/2908386/

Jarrett, C. (2017, April 13). Different nationalities really have different personalities. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170413-different-nationalities-really-have-different-personalities

Jucca, L. (2021, June 4). Review: Meritocracy is a myth. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/breakingviews/review-meritocracy-is-myth-2021-06-04/

Kartsevsky, S. I. (2000). Yazyk. voyna i revolyutsiya [Language, war and revolution]. In I. I. Fuzheron (Eds.), From the literary heritage (pp. 215-218). Yazyki Russkoy Kultury

Knott, M. (2021, July 21). Could a Jeff Bezos space flight unite America? You gotta be dreaming. The Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/could-a-jeff-bezos-space-flight-unite-america-you-gotta-be-dreaming-20210721-p58bhf.html

Ksdogg (2021). One of the easiest ways to reduce emissions is stop releasing new products you don’t need every 5 minutes. [Comment on the video ‘Coronavirus: What has Covid done for climate crisis? - BBC News’]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHFV0XcJxww

Labov, W. (2013). The language of life and death: The transformation of experience in oral narrative. Cambridge University Press.

Lebedeva, M. M. (2009). Mirovaya politika: Tendentsii razvitiya [World politics: Development trends]. Polis. Politicheskiye issledovaniya, 4(112), 72-83.

Let’s work on our mind. (2021, January 17). The Sunday Mail. https://www.sundaymail.co.zw/lets-work-on-our-mind

Luhmann, N. (2000). The reality of the mass media (1st ed.). Stanford University Press.

Machin, D., & Leeuwen, T. V. (2007). Global media discourse. Routledge.

Macmillan. (n.d.a). Functional. In Macmillan Thesaurus. Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://www.macmillanthesaurus.com/functional

Macmillan (n.d.b). Functionalism. In Macmillan Thesaurus. Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://www.macmillanthesaurus.com/functionalism

Mitrovich, G. (2021, March 25). China is taking aim at the key to America’s dominant role in the world. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/03/25/china-is-taking-aim-key-americas-dominant-role-world/

Neddar, B. A. (2017). Language as evolving: Introductory notes to some aspects of Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics. Journal of Literature, Languages and Linguistics. 34, 58-72.

Nye, J. (2013, April 7) ‘Myagkaya sila’ i amerikano-yevropeyskiye otnosheniya [‘Soft power’ and US-European relations]. Smart Power Journal. http://smartpowerjournal.ru/soft-power/

Pisarenko, D. (2020, November 28). Kto isportil vozdukh? Pochemu priroda ne speshit ochishchat’sya pri pandemii [Who spoiled the air? Why nature is in no hurry to cleanse itself during a pandemic]. Argumenty i fakty [Arguments and facts]. https://aif.ru/society/ecology/kto_isportil_vozduh_pochemu_priroda_ne_speshit_ochishchatsya_pri_pandemii?fbclid=IwAR1lcV288eL74SOf0Z0VDtd0iz6AYMYHE_5_krAvl5pLDGVsNjbNXVPTG14

Rice, D. (2020, March 11). Planet is ‘way off track’ in dealing with climate change, UN report says. USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/03/11/climate-change-world-way-off-track-dealing-global-warming/5021961002/

Roig-Marin, A. (2021). English-based coroneologisms: A short survey of our Covid-19-related vocabulary. English Today, 37(4), 193-195. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266078420000255

Sacks, H. (2004). An initial characterisation of the organisation of speaker turn-taking in conversation. In G. H. Lerner (Ed.), Conversation Analysis: Studies from the First Generation (pp. 35-42). John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.125.04sac

Schultz, N. (2021, March 28). Generation COVID will embrace digital revolution with support. The Age. https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/generation-covid-will-embrace-digital-revolution-with-support-20210211-p571lv.html

Shepherd, J. (2003). What is the digital era? In G. Doukidis, N. Mylonopoulos, & N. Pouloudi (Eds.), Social and Economic transformations in the digital era (pp. 1-18). ‎ Idea Group Publishing. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-59140-158-2.ch001

Silverberg, D. (2021, July 28). How global conferences are using tech to stay in business. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57817807

Sukhodolov, A. P., & Kuznetsova, I. A. (2017). Konstruirovaniye SMI kak gomeostaticheskoy sistemy sredstvami avtomatiki: bazovyye ponyatiya, struktura, komponenty [Construction of the media as a homeostatic system by means of automation: basic concepts, structure, components]. Voprosy teorii i praktiki zhurnalistiki, 6(4), 437-464.

Triponel, T. R. (2021, August 1). PM Jacinda Ardern delivers formal apology on Dawn Raids at Auckland Town Hall. New Zealand Herald. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/pm-jacinda-ardern-delivers-formal-apology-on-dawn-raids-at-auckland-town-hall/5QDI3T3VV4KM5ZCOOQQ4AEUT2I/

Vaast, E., & Davidson, E. (2008). New actors and new media in technology discourse: An investigation of tech blogging. ICIS 2008 Proceedings (art. 162). Association for Information Systems. https://aisel.aisnet.org/icis2008/162

Vartanova, E. L. (2011). Ot cheloveka sotsial’nogo - k cheloveku mediynomu? K voprosu o vliyanii SMI na auditoriyu [From a social person to a media person? On the question of the influence of the media on the audience]. In E. L. Vartanova (Ed.), Chelovek kak sub’yekt i ob’yekt mediapsikhologii [Man as a subject and object of media psychology] (pp. 199-215). Moscow State University.

Vekilova, S. A. (Ed.). (2005). Istoriya psikhologii: konspekt lektsiy [History of psychology: Lecture notes]. Sova.

Verschueren, J. (1999). Understanding pragmatics. Oxford University Press.

Weale, S. (2022, August 2). Schools in England face funding crisis as costs soar, study warns. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/aug/02/schools-in-england-face-funding-crisis-as-costs-soar-study-warns

Wodak, R. (2011). Kriticheskaya lingvistika i kriticheskiy analiz diskursa [Critical linguistics and critical analysis of discourse, Translated from English by V. I. Karasik]. Politicheskaya Lingvistika, 4(38), 286-291.

Zasursky, Ya. N. (2012). Global’naya struktura mezhdunarodnoy informatsii [The global structure of international information]. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya. 10. Zhurnalistika, 3, 101-115.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.24815/siele.v10i1.25307

Article Metrics

Abstract view : 0 times
PDF - 0 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Print ISSN: 2355-2794, Online ISSN: 2461-0275

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

View Journal Stats