Belinda Crawford Camiciottoli

Shades of Evaluative Meaning in Web-based Company Communications: The Case of Fashion Brands

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Keywords: Fashion Discourse; Fashion Brands; Web-Based Communication; Evaluation; Corpus Linguistics; Part-Of-Speech Tagging; Semantic Annotation.

This paper explores how fashion companies use web-based communication to express evaluative meanings. Based on a corpus of texts collected from the websites and Facebook pages of a large sample of fashion brands, the study sets out to understand which evaluative meanings are conveyed, which are the most prominent, and whether any patterns of meaning emerge. The analysis focuses on evaluative adjectives, which were exhaustively analysed using a combination of different corpus techniques including part-of-speech tagging and semantic annotation. Martin and White's (2005) appraisal theory was applied to identify distinctive facets of evaluative meaning. The findings suggest that fashion companies exploit web-based communication to convey highly nuanced evaluative meanings that can trigger emotions and perceptions linked to self-identity and social values, well beyond mere aesthetic appreciation related to the appearance and quality of fashion products.

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