Title: Appraisal Analysis of Hiroshima A-Bomb Survivors’ Testimonies: Linguistic Insights on the Building of Hiroshima Peace Culture
Stream: Language and Culture
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Tingjia Wang, Hiroshima University, Japan
The Chugoku Shimbun news publisher in Hiroshima, Japan, has been publishing Hiroshima A-Bomb survivors’ testimonies in English on its affiliated website The Chugoku Shimbun Hiroshima Peace Media Center since June 2011. These testimonies were first collected through interviews with survivors in Japanese, and then written as biographies in English by journalist writers. The website has archived 154 survivors’ testimonies in English, shaping a significant piece of Hiroshima peace culture to English readers worldwide. Using these data, this research aims to explore how historical writers’ linguistic choices contribute to the building of peace culture in a designed direction. Analytical tool applied is the Systemic Functional Linguistic Appraisal framework, a linguistic lens for analysis of different attitudes (affect, judgement, appreciation) based on different lexical evidence. Findings show that the peace culture built through survivors’ testimonies features a non-judgmental, future-oriented tendency. The non-judgmental tendency has been observed mainly through the choice of targets for negative evaluations, which are typically thing targets rather than human targets. Thing targets “war” and “nuclear arms” have been primary targets of negative evaluations in terms of their values to the civil society; human targets like U.S. or the military as well as morality topics remain out of the evaluative scope. Survivors’ positive desires for future testimonies tend to be foregrounded in their biographies, yet their negative emotions arising from tragic recounts remain under-expressed. This research will provide critical implications for understanding the building of peace culture and demonstrate the significant role that language has been playing in historiography.
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