Exploring Language and Diplomatic Thinking through Process Types: A Contrastive Study on Sino-British Diplomatic Thinking Based on the China-UK Joint Declaration

Song Chen


The China-UK Joint Declaration on Building a Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century is one of the fruits of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent official state visit to the Great Britain. As a typical and important diplomatic language document, the Joint Declaration deserves scientific research. In this paper, based on the six process types of Halliday’s Transitivity system, we attempt to disclose the diplomatic thinking underlying the employment of process types and make a contrastive study of the diplomatic thinking of both China and the UK. The research leads to three findings. Firstly, the high frequency of material process clause in both Chinese and English versions reflects the “Action thinking”, a shared diplomatic thinking adopted by the two nations. Secondly, the Chinese version employs more relational process clauses than the English version, which is an indication of the “Relationality thinking” underlying Chinese diplomacy and it is much less emphasized or even absent in British diplomacy. Thirdly, the analysis of the mental process clauses reveals that China has an “Inclusive thinking” in its diplomatic exchange with Britain whereas the UK a “Friendship thinking”.


Process types; diplomatic thinking; contrastive study; Action thinking; Relationality thinking; Inclusive thinking; Friendship thinking

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.5n.4p.84


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