Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Research Student: Dongman Cai

Photo of Dongman Cai

What is the stance towards the Sino-EU Solar Panel Trade Dispute? Metaphors in Journalism of Financial Times and China Daily: A Critical Metaphor Analysis

Submission Date: September 2019

My research interest lies in corpus-based approaches to metaphor use in economic discourse. Based on literature review, it can be found that researching metaphor use in Sino-EU solar panel trade disputes has received little attention. Most research on this issue is mainly limited in economics perspective (Prawitz 2013; Louise 2015), almost ignoring the linguistic perspective (Ma 2013). However, to better understand the underlying information (such as stance, ideological motivation, prediction) of the discourse, it is of great significance to explore metaphor use in both Chinese and western reports on this issue. This study attempts to make the reports more objective for readers, provide guidance for investment in the new energy market of both parties and finally play a role in improving the teaching effectiveness of economic discourse in ESP by constructing a metaphor model based on rules revealed by corpus approach and statistical analysis.


Before I came to the University of Leeds for my PhD study, I finished my Master Degree of Art in the field of Business English in Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. During my postgraduate study, I also have a part-time job as a language teacher in the University.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

I am curious to solve problems in language education and my enthusiasm to work on teaching and researching urges me to undertake PhD study.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

I was positively impressed by my previous experience as a part-time language teacher in the University. I believe that many students cannot learn a second language well. This is not because they are not intelligent enough but because of the following reasons such as:

1) they are not interest in it

2) they have low academic self-efficacy

3) their learning needs and difficulties are not perceived by their teachers

4) their learning schema doesn’t match their learning capacity


Besides, in ESP teaching, metaphor is really a hard nut to crack for students. For instance, economic journalism in which metaphor is ubiquitous does not only serve the purpose of informing about ongoing economic processes but also that of selling a particular worldview. That is to say, once we can have a better understanding of metaphors in economic discourse of intercultural context, it would be much easier for students to learn well. This is my motivation for choosing this study area.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

Once I have completed my PhD, I will go back to my country to be a language teacher and researcher in the institution of Higher Education. 

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