Emotive lexicon of the political narrative: Ukraine and the West in Chinese media

  • Svitlana Zhabotynska Bohdan Khmelnitsky National University of Cherkasy https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9841-6335
  • Anastasiya Brynko Bohdan Khmelnitsky National University of Cherkasy
Keywords: emotive lexicon, political narrative, image of the Russia-Ukraine war, cognitive ontology, Chinese media, international audience


This study, done within the framework of political and cognitive linguistics, discusses emotively loaded language of political media narratives that serve as the major manipulative tool with which propaganda exerts ideological impact on the public. Among various linguistic devices employed in molding the political narrative, a conspicuous role is played by emotively loaded lexicon that is in focus of this inquiry. It aims to expose the contribution of emotively loaded words into featuring a media image of the war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February, 2022. As a result of ideological confrontation between the adversaries and between their allies, this image, targeting home audiences in Russia and Ukraine, as well as foreign audiences, is framed as either pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian, with the respective emotive assessments being mostly contrastive. Our study considers a pro-Russian image of the war shaped by the English version of The Global Times popular tabloid that belongs to Chinese state media. The dataset includes the articles depicting the Russia-Ukraine war in the context of international relations. The articles were published during June, 2022, three months after the beginning of Russia’s military assault. In the study, the analysis of emotive lexicon grounds on a cognitive ontology of the RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR image. Such ontology, defined as event-focused, allows for structuring information about the event proper and its participants. Their verbally crafted ‘portraits’ are made salient through the scope of employed emotive expressions, which facilitates priming and entrenchment of the intended biased image in the reader’s mind.


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How to Cite
Zhabotynska, S., & Brynko, A. (2022). Emotive lexicon of the political narrative: Ukraine and the West in Chinese media. Cognition, Communication, Discourse, (25), 89-118. https://doi.org/10.26565/2218-2926-2022-25-08