A comparative study of the linguistic manifestations of intertextuality in corporate leaders’ messages of global corporations in the US and China

Cindy Sing Bik Ngai, Rita Gill Singh, Becky Siu Chu Kwan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Corporate leader messages posted by senior management play a pivotal role in building relationships with stakeholders in the professional corporate communication context and such messages often explicitly or implicitly draw on prior texts to establish credibility. This mixed methods study seeks to analyse how intertextuality is manifested linguistically through the types of intertextual links, sources of reference and move structure in leaders' messages of Fortune Global 500 corporations in the United States and China. The findings indicate that intertextuality is a prevalent feature of leader messages with intertextual references made to published corporate information using indirect speech. However, striking cross-cultural differences are noted since corporations in China often draw on direct quotes in messages whereas indirect quotes and recognisable industry/business-specific phrasing are preferred by corporations from the US. In addition, intertextuality in leaders’ messages reveals ideological variations in that leaders from corporations in China make explicit intertextual references to texts on government policies and business achievements/recognition. Discussion of how intertextuality as manifested in the messages and move structure is thereby driven by the goals of corporations from different cultures concludes this study alongside wider implications for learning and teaching ESP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-84
Number of pages20
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Corporate leaders' messages
  • Global corporations in the US and China
  • Linguistics manifestation
  • Move structure
  • Referential intertextuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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