A Corpus Approach to Discourse Analysis of Newspaper Restaurant Reviews: A Preliminary Analysis

Hsiao-I Hou


This study is a corpus-based discourse analysis that explores specific discourse communities of restaurant reviews in newspapers. The design of this study is largely influenced by the works of Swales (1990), Bhatia (1993), and Biber et al. (2007), and is guided by understanding how a professional text in a particular discipline achieves its disciplinary objectives. A specialized corpus was constructed and the data were randomly selected from restaurant reviews from five leading newspapers in US in 2010. The analyses focused on the distributions and functions of surface linguistic features including move analyses, analyses of communicative purposes in the texts, and investigations of the vocabulary and typical lexico-grammatical realizations of these moves. The results have shown that the establishment of the dining experience (Move 3) (46.3%) occurred most frequently, followed by a description of the entering (Move 2) (22.0%), and then a detailed description of the chosen restaurant (Move 1) (14.7%). Most reviews were structured chronologically and were similarly arranged in the following order: experience of choice, entering, dining, paying, and consideration of another visit. In addition, some rhetorical signals were noticed. The implications of the findings are presented with possible suggestions for future teaching and research issues.

Key words: Corpus; Discourse analysis; Restaurant review


Corpus; Discourse analysis; Restaurant review


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/n


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