The Construction of Discourses of Electric Vehicles in the Global Online Media



Electric vehicles were first produced in the 1880’s, and yet still remain a peripheral mode of transport in modern society regardless of the environmental damage caused by internal combustion engine vehicles. I thought it would be interesting to investigate the discourses in global media online journals and news sources surrounding electric vehicles to gain insights into the current stance taken toward this form of transportation technology. 100 recently published online articles were collected and analyzed using a corpus-assisted discourse analysis approach. The articles were found using the Google search engine and filtered to search only news articles. The search was electric vehicles. The methodological approach, which combines corpus linguistics with discourse analysis, focused on word frequency, salience and words in context in order to study language patterns in the corpus of texts. The analysis found that prevalent discourses were related to the technological advances made in areas related to the battery unit, charging capability and travel range of the vehicles, as well as the growing infrastructure necessary to support such means of transport and the lowering of prices. Thus, rhetorical arguments were presented which positioned electric vehicles as a comparable alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles. The research found that an emphasis towards lower greenhouse gas emissions in electric vehicles was not made, thus, the environmental benefits of electric vehicles was not highlighted. This appeared to indicate that media strategies aim to convince potential electric vehicle owners that such technologies will not negatively impact their way of life. The fact that the environmental benefits were back-grounded appears to indicate that regardless of pollution and global warming, such issues are of secondary concern for most car owners at this current time.

keywords solar cars

As can be seen from the keyword list above, emissions is ranked 18th in level of salience, and occurs much less frequently in the corpus than other lexical items related to vehicle performance and efficiency.

Emissions is an importance discourse related to electric vehicles, but it is not the foremost concern for those writing about and promoting this form of technology.


It does appear that people do not wish to be inconvenienced by adopting a new form of technology which may infringe on their current lifestyle. Therefore, the majority of discourses surrounding electric vehicles appears to attempt to convince the potential customer that by changing to this alternative form of transportation, their lifestyle will not be negatively impacted.

And that’s a pity!


electric cars

A collocation network of electric & cars calculated by MI score.

Straight White Men Don’t Qualify

In a small corpus of 100 articles from Breitbart News related to men, there appears to be a prominent discourse related to the victimization of white heterosexual men.

white men


The above collocation network of white and men indicates the focus placed white men in Breitbart News and how they find themselves to be victims in modern American society at the hands of women and minority groups, who, according to Breitbart News, are attempting to remove heterosexual white men from their privileged position within a patriarchal society.



white men concordance

Within the last 3 days, numerous articles have appeared on the Breitbart website depicting the identity of heterosexual white men as being threatened by women.






By constructing white men as threatened and as victims, populist right-wing ideology positions women and minorities as enemies of privileged white males. Such ideology is increasingly present in mainstream politics, not only in the US, but also throughout Europe. It should be exposed and challenged wherever it is found.

The Construction of Femininities in Breitbart News


Below are the opening paragraphs of an article discussing intelligence in women:

We’re constantly told that sexism and stereotypes are what hold women back in maths, engineering and tech. But it’s a lie. The real reason there aren’t more female astrophysicists is that the number of really, really smart girls is minuscule.

Sorry, no offence, but it’s true. Of course there’s the odd mould-breaking chick brainiac who gets a lot of press attention. But they’re in the minority, and not because girls are put off by some mythical male-dominated patriarchy.

The misogynistic discourse found in this one particular article does appear to be a prominent theme through Breitbart News, which does appear to promote the notion of male patriarchy.

In a small corpus of 100 articles, collected to investigate the construction of masculinity, a misogynistic discourse is salient. There is a reoccurring pattern found within the data in which women are described as being less intelligent than men, as the concordance lines demonstrate:


Feminism is constructed negatively:


Discourses found within the data highlight that women are the victims of violence and are therefore in need of protection by men.



A collocational network of women and feminism.

Therefore, just by a quick look at the data from Breitbart News, it can be seen that a misogynist ideology is clearly articulated at a time when Steve Bannon was the executive chairman. And now, of course, he can be found in the White House.

Masculinities in Breitbart News



I collected 100 articles from the  Breitbart News website which contained the word men. This produced a corpus of almost 69,000 words. When I looked at the most salient words in the corpus, I found the following:


I found it of interest that a corpus of texts which was compiled with the intention of investigating maculinities, contained such a large number of salient words related to feminities.

If I looked at the collocates of women ordered by MI score, I found the following:


There appears to be a discourse related to the opposition to women having combat roles within the armed forces:


Furthermore, the data contains a discourse in which women are in need of being protected by men:

protect-women women-network


After this very brief look at the corpus, there appears to be a very prominent discourse related to the notion of male patriarchy.

A Week of Trump

I collected from the White House website (, the transcripts of the speeches of Donald Trump during the last seven days (Feb. 21 – 27). Ten speeches were available; I looked at them using WordSmith Tools. The ten texts contained a total of a little more than 19,000 words. Firstly, I wanted to have a look at frequency.


As is often the case, the most frequent words are grammatical words, however, we and may prove insightful.

If I order the collocates one lace to the right of we, it can be seen that Trump is frequently talking about what he and his administration are going to do.


By looking at concordance lines, it can be seen more clearly what exactly he is talking about doing in the future.


It can be seen that the the principle focus appears to be on economics and the financial situation of the American people, although there are also references to Radical Islamis terrorists and education.


More promises about the economy: more jobs, more infrastructure, more planes, and more work for the miners …. beautiful clean coal …

If I look at I, it can be seen that think is a frequent collocate. So, it would be interesting to have a quick look at what Donald Trump is thinking about these days.


He appears to think that he’s doing a good job!

When I looked at the most salient words, again, I found we to be prominent.


We I looked at a collocational network of we, I found that, when ordered by MI scores, military was a strong collocate.


A very pro-military stance, with promises to rebuild what he considers to be a depleted military.

So, after a very quick glance, there appears to be a very strong emphasis on the economy, jobs, money and the military, less on education, the environment and social welfare.

Wish you were here? (A poem of prejudice inspired by The Mail.)

Wish you were here?

(A poem of prejudice inspired by The Mail.)

Wish you were here?

Asylum-seekers are being taken

on ‘jollies’ paid for by

£100,000 of public money

to zoos, theme parks

and even the beach

to help them ‘integrate’

into British life.


Funded by the National Lottery,

treating dozens of immigrants

to days out at Thorpe Park,

Whipsnade Zoo,

the London Eye and Brighton beach.


Met with dismay

one MP said: ‘Some of my constituents

can’t afford to take their children

to some of these places.’


16 to 21-year-olds

who arrived ‘unaccompanied’

enjoy a week of climbing and canoeing

Photos of asylum-seekers

on other days out

to the Tower of London,

which costs an adult £22 to visit,

and Surrey’s Thorpe Park (up to £49.99).


Steven George-Hilley,

of the Parliament Street think-tank,

said the ‘jollies’ made ‘Britain

look more like Butlins’.

The red carpet has been rolled out

for the refugees

and much money spent on them.


The readers said:

I weep for what the politicians

are doing to western civilization.

Apparently our culture

is not worth preserving.


What a joke

while our own people

are losing jobs

through cut backs for these lot,



Does anyone else here remember

a place that used to be called Great Britain?

It was so long ago,

I can’t even be sure that it actually existed.


Wish you were here?

Visualization of the Far-Right using GraphColl

I want to do a short analysis of a sub-corpora of 90,000 words taken from a corpus of Facebook postings made by supports of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) using a corpus visualisation tool, GraphColl, developed at Lancaster University, UK.

As the EDL focus on Muslims and Islam, I thought that looking at the word Muslim would be a good start. I’m interested in looking at the collocates of Muslims and begin by looking at the collocates with an MI score of 3 or above.

muslims mi3

Although this is a very interesting visualisation, there may be too many collocates to look at at once, and so by raising the MI score to 4 and above may be beneficial.

muslims mi4

And so the picture becomes clearer. Many of the collocates appear to focus on radical forms of Islam with collocates such as extremists, extreme, terrorists and radical. Other are related to violence: rape, kill and hate.

This picture can be expanded by looking at how the collocate white interacts with the other collocates.

muslim white

Therefore, not only can the discourses of extremism be seen, but also discourses of race are present. Collocates of white include words such as girls, pretty and cock, which may indicate a discourse of sexuality.


It is interesting that along with discourses of radicalization found within the posts of EDL supporters, there are also discourses which appear to indicate a patriarchal element as the writers appear to be discussing ‘our white girls’.

This can then be studied further by looking at KWIC.


Thus, in this very brief analysis, I hope I have been able to demonstrate the usefulness of visualizations in data analysis.