Texts of semiotic processes

Semiotic processes are processes of meaning and they entail the following five fields of activity: “expounding”, “reporting”, “recreating”, “sharing”, and “exploring”.

Expounding texts focus on expounding knowledge about general classes of phenomena via explanation or categorization. The related text types include lectures, seminars, entries in encyclopedias, research articles, academic books, etc. Example 4 is selected from a book on nursing patients suffering from COVID-19. Written by experts of the field to disseminate knowledge to lay people, the example expounds scientific knowledge on the novel coronavirus, explaining the classification of the virus, discussing the genetic features of the virus and introducing the methods of inactivating the virus.

Example 4 (Adapted from Wu and Sun 2020: 8)

[field: field of activity: expounding;

tenor: institutional roles: writers to readers; power roles: experts to audience; familiarity: strangers;

mode: medium: written; channel: published book; turn: monologue]

««if p кттштт, шш± jsarsi--cov4i im ersi--

CoVWHJSIOJ. @ (bat-

SL-CoVZC45) |в|«8ШЁ85%Й±. 56°C

30min, 75%Ш('ь


(The novel coronavirus belongs to the fi genus of novel corona- virus, with its genetic features being significantly different from those of SARSr-CoV and MERSr-CoV. Current studies have revealed that it is 85% homologous to the Bat SARS-like coronavirus (bat-SL- CoVZC45). The virus is sensitive to ultraviolet ray and heat; it can be effectively inactivated through 56”C 30min or by fat solvent such as diethyl ether, ethyl alcohol of 75%, chlorine-containing disinfectant, peracetic acid and chloroform; but it cannot be effectively inactivated by chlorhexidine.)

Taken from a research article on medical science, Example 5 introduces the standards of classifying patients suffering from COVID-19 as mild cases, ordinary cases, severe cases, and critical cases. The various diagnostic criteria are clearly presented and written for experts of the field or medical staff who have the expertise. Similar to Example 4, the writers and readers in Example 5 do not know each other.

Example 5 (Adapted from Liu et al. 2020: 209)

[field: field of activity: expounding;

tenor: institutional roles: writers to readers; power roles: experts to experts; familiarity: strangers;

mode: medium: written; channel: published journal article; turn: monologue]

шш&штш: шшшшштшшттттшшт тшшттш атшшшшшттшшш-. ns тшш, iтшштштшт-. тп

ш, тштшшыт-. ш

со итшш, пт.шт>жшт-, (2) MM, (3) гшмя-л

(РаОО ЩЩЙШ (FiOD <300 mmHg (lmmHg=0.133kPa) о

жшшшшшт-. со

IffigWil: (2) (3)

icu naif^?T«

(The following clinical diagnosis and classification criteria are based on the diagnosis and treatment scheme of novel coronavirus pneumonia enacted by the General Office of National Health Commission (the revised fifth trial edition). Diagnostic criteria of mild case include minor clinical symptoms and no imaging manifestation of pneumonia. Diagnostic criteria of ordinary cases include having fever, respiratory and other symptoms as well as imaging manifestation of pneumonia. Diagnostic criteria of severe cases can involve either of the following: (1) respiratory distress, with a respiratory rate being equal to or larger than 30 times per minute, (2) hypoxemia, with the degree of finger blood oxygen saturation being equal to or smaller than 93% and (3) the arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO,) or fraction of inspiration oxygen (Fi02) is equal to or smaller than 300 mmHg (ImmHg = ОЛЗЗкРа). Diagnostic criteria of critical cases can involve either of the following: (1) having a respiratory failure and being in need of mechanical ventilation, (2) suffering from shock and (3) combining with other organ failures and being in need of intensive care.)

Reporting texts report on particular instances of phenomena by chronicling, inventorying, or surveying. The related text types include geographic survey (e.g. of reported cases of COVID-19), historical report, chronicle, news report, obituary, biography (e.g. of people involved), laboratory test report, questionnaire, interview, interrogation (e.g. between policeman and suspects who may have disseminated the virus), etc. In Example 6 culled from the television program of News Network (fJrHl£Ht) at CCTV (China Central Television), recent news is reported by highlighting the instructions of Xi Jinping (Chairman of the Central Military Commission) and elaborating on how the instructions have been carried out by the army. It can be observed that Example 6 is not only written to be read in silence, but also to be read aloud by a newscaster on TV.

Example 63

[field: field of activity: reporting;

tenor: institutional roles: newscaster to audience; power roles: authority to ordinary people; familiarity: strangers;

mode: medium: spoken & written; channel: TV & website; turn: monologue]


......Аияштий, mxmmitл



~Ь, )£щ40ШШШ£№К П'Н>


(Ratified by Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, the army selected 1,400 medical workers to undertake the medical rescuing missions at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan since February 3. ... Since February 1, the medical forces selected by the army were assembled in Wuhan through railway and airway transportation. They will make a concerted effort and win the blocking action of epidemic prevention and control against the novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia.

At 1:30am on February 2, the air force dispatched eight large transport airplanes, which successively took off from a military airfield. At 4:00am, the airplanes arrived at places such as Shenyang, Lanzhou, Guangzhou and Nanjing one after another and began to load the 795 members of military medical corps and 58 tons of materials. Afterwards, the airplanes lifted off again towards Wuhan.)

Example 7 is an obituary of a director who passed away due to the corona- virus. Different from other reporting texts, one can find various evaluations of the dead, information about his career, and an acknowledgment of the contributions he had made (cf. Chang 2016).

Example 7

[field: field of activity: reporting;

tenor: institutional roles: a work place that makes the announcement to friends and relatives who know the dead; power roles: leader to common people; familiarity: strangers;

mode: medium: written; channel: online media and other sources; turn: monologue]

m it * % m я- г “ ш m \% я к я up ± и ххщ * @ s m m №' tk IS % Ш . ^2020^2% 140 40^51^)£геЖтийКЕ ARISEc'ii'ttt» ^-^55^0

шшпт, хтт яытшш, мхш, ши


(Comrade XX, director of the “Visual & Audio” International Liaison Department of Hubei Film Studio, had suffered from novel coronavirus- infected pneumonia and passed away after failed medical treatment in the People’s Hospital of Huangpi District in Wuhan at 4:51 on February 14, 2020.

Since Comrade XX began his career, he always devoted himself to his job and was willing and dependable. He respected his leaders and cared for the group and his colleagues. He was also friendly and ready to help others and had made important contributions in his previous posts.

His death resulted in the loss of an excellent leader in our studio and we are deeply sad.)

As far as recreating texts are concerned, any of the eight fields of activity can be recreated. The two primary modes of recreation include dramatizing and narrating and the text types mainly include novel, short story, drama, and comic strip. Since COVID-19 has influenced people’s lives enormously, it can be expected that more recreating texts will be produced in the future.

Sharing texts aim to maintain personal relationships through the exchange of personal experiences and values. The text types include different kinds of conversation (e.g. chat, casual conversation, and gossip), diary, blog, personal e-mail, and SMS (Short Messaging Service). The interactants involved in sharing texts could range from complete strangers to intimate friends and family members. In addition, sharing texts may vary in terms of mode owing to advancement in technology. Such texts not only utilize the spoken and written modes, but also include computer-mediated or virtual modes made possible with the help of software or applications, such as WhatsApp, WeChat, microblog (Weibo), twitter, and Facebook.

Example 8 is a diary written by a medical worker dispatched to Wuhan. In his diary, he shares his personal experiences to a wider audience, informing others about his job and the hardship of being a medical worker. In terms of tenor, readers of this diary can be anyone who surfs the internet, most of whom have never met the nurse in person.

Example 84

[field: field of activity: sharing;

tenor: institutional roles: a doctor to various netizens; power roles: common people to common people; familiarity: strangers; mode: medium: written; channel: online media; turn: monologue]

15: 30

жmmмm#мm> fif. mm, *и-mш#m


16: 20


□о тж&ш-%, што

(15:30 Check the patients’ information in the cabins

This was my first job after the shifting of duty today. I held the information sheet just printed and checked the patients’ bedside cards and wrist straps. From time to time, there were patients who made their requests or raised questions, which I answered one after another. After a short while, I was sweating all over.

16:20 Escorting the recovered patients to be discharged from the hospital

After going through the discharge procedures, I carried his heavy luggage and escorted him to A1 Exit. We looked at each other and smiled, waving and bidding farewell.)

Selected from the WeChat messages between three good friends. Example 9 illustrates how friends exchange their opinions privately. Among the three, Xiaolei and Yanshuo are a couple living in Beijing, while Momo lives in Zhuhai. In the dialogue, the three of them discuss the possibility of buying cheap air tickets and express their desire to see one another after the outbreak. Although the mode of discourse is written, it is, in fact, a transcribed version of spoken discourse characterized by various modal particles such as “ВД” (a) and interjections such as “Ий” (wa) and “Pi” (at). It can also be observed that punctuation marks are sometimes omitted in the dialogue and instances of emoji are frequently used (shown in square brackets).

Example 9

[field: field of activity: sharing;

tenor: institutional roles: friends to friends; power roles: equal power relation between friends; familiarity: intimate;

mode: medium: written & spoken; channel: online media; turn: dialogue]

Ш: 198"ЩЙ| [££]


W?»J, Я7ВД, [ВД

Ш-. мтишм Ш: штт-g. [$Ш]



(XIAOLEI: With ¥198, you can buy a ticket and fly to Zhuhai. [daze] MOMO: Wow! Just buy two tickets and come.

XIAOLEI: No, I have no vacation left. I took all of them during the outbreak, [grin]

XIAOLEI: You can come to Beijing.

XIAOLEI: I guess the tickets will also be cheap, [whirl]

MOMO: [grin] [grin] I really want to go. But I’m afraid that the outbreak has not finished yet and it is not safe to bring the kids with me. XIAOLEI: Well, I guess the outbreak won’t be over for a while.

YANSHUO: Yes, the cases have now appeared in Dalian.

YANSHUO: It is without an end.)

Exploring texts help to shed light on one’s public opinion, stance, and ideas by arguing, rallying, and reviewing. The text types include speech, discussion, critical investigation, sermon, debate, and editorial. From the perspective of tenor, exploring texts are mostly between one person and the public. For instance, Example 10 is a speech between President Xi Jinping - general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the cadres at the meeting. In this text, President Xi explains the current situation, plans for future deployment, and calls on all comrades to cooperate.

Example 105

[field: field of activity: exploring;

tenor: institutional roles: chairman to other comrades; power roles: leader to cadres of lower ranks; familiarity: not familiar & stranger; mode: medium: written to be spoken; channel: meeting; turn: monologue]



1*шт Фштя£±ш&'тш, ш



(Comrades: Today we are holding a meeting on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak and on the deployment of social and economic development. ... Now 1 would like to point out a few comments.

First, in terms of the previous prevention and control of the outbreak, after the outbreak, the Party Central Committee has attached great importance, made arrangements quickly, and strengthened the centralized and unified leadership on the prevention and control of the outbreak.

My fellow comrades, the Chinese nation has gone through all kinds of hardships throughout history. It has never crashed, but has thrived after the setbacks ... I believe that with the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, with the significant advantage of system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, with a powerful ability of mobilization as well as abundant and comprehensive strength, with the solidarity and striving of the whole Party, the army and people of all ethnic groups of the country, we can definitely defeat the outbreak. ...)

The editorial in Example 11, titled “The Worst Can Be Avoided if the US Focus on Fighting the Epidemic”

is selected from Global Times (iFFWJK.) - a Chinese newspaper under the auspices of People’s Daily (A A El flifi which acts as the mouthpiece of the

Chinese government. Such editorials often begin with a background of certain incidents (the first paragraph in the example), followed by interpretations of the incidents (the second paragraph) and possible solutions that can be implemented by the different parties involved (the last paragraph) (see Wang and Ma (2021) for discussions on the generic structure potential of editorial in Global Times).

Example ll6

[field: field of activity: exploring;

tenor: institutional roles: writer to readers; power roles: authority to ordinary people; familiarity: stranger;

mode: medium: written; channel: printed & online media; turn: monologue]

Йй§Ш-^&24'.Ьв^Ш+Ж71х, HS#-B§r7a№liife5EtrA


о 4-лгаш.

^ I $ It i± It а Л К lb 7о 7 |Щ

йгайзшвж^лдавв&Ш' шёл,

йЕВьЭД№)iRiFtif(fttbЩ> МФИИA R А <>


шт^т^ышшмьтшяш, йвйШ£Ш&вшл ФВЩ£Е&йй7ЙЯ«5Й:т5«&Ша.

(The cumulative number of deaths caused by novel coronavirus pneumonia in the US has exceeded China on Wednesday (Beijing time). According to the latest statistics in the last 24 hours, there have been 857 deaths caused by novel coronavirus pneumonia in the US in one day, which exceeded Spain and Italy and constituted the largest number of deaths in a single day around the globe. These messages are very unfortunate and pitiful.

The American people have paid the price for the false policy responses previously adopted by Washington. In view of its super national power and the global coordination ability, the US should have other chances to avoid the widely predicated worst case and to reduce the loss of life of the American people.

Therefore, the international conflicts with China should be stopped to create conditions for real Sino-US cooperation against the outbreak. China can not only provide urgent medical supplies to the US; in addition, the two nations can effectively cooperate in developing vaccines. In China, vaccine development has reached the stage of clinical trial.)

204 Victor Wong, Yuanyi Ma and Mark Nartey Texts of social processes

Doing processes are social processes that serve to perform social behaviors with the help of semiotic processes. There are two modes of doing process,

i.e. through directing others or collaborating with others. The text types related to COVID-19 discussed here include meeting (e.g. on works related to COVID-19), cooperation (e.g. by doctors, nurses, and experts), ceremony, services, etc.

Example 12, selected from a ceremony celebrating the discharge of various patients who had recovered from the coronavirus, is contributed by the director of the hospital to congratulate the patients.7 Also, at the ceremony, the director produced other text types, such as introducing the adopted therapeutic schedule (reporting & expounding), reminding the patients to comply with home quarantine and to take care of themselves (enabling).

Example 12

[field: field of activity: doing;

tenor: institutional roles: director of hospital to patients to be discharged; power roles: authority to ordinary people; familiarity: stranger or not familiar;

mode: medium: spoken; channel: ceremony; turn: monologue]

ШЮ, Й11Й7!

(Congratulations, you are discharged from the hospital today!)

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