Categorisations of developed and developing countries in UN news on climate change

Guofeng Wang, Ming Liu, Yihang Xin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Categorisations of social groups involve interpretations of reality that include social cognition, classification of relevant concepts, worldviews and ideologies. To reveal the factors that form the basis for the commonly used terms developed countries and developing countries, this study uses corpus-assisted critical discourse studies to examine how they are represented in United Nations climate change news reports. Results show these two categorisations are constructed through lexico-grammatical patterns that serve generally as Locations specifying the characteristics of various climate change scenarios. In addition, guided by UN mandates, Agents (developed countries) are expected to provide climate funds to Patients or Goals (developing countries) to effectively solve this global problem. The ways in which these patterns are represented in UN news reporting reflect the post-World War II world order and the core value of humanitarianism endorsed by the UN. To address the ongoing problem of insufficient financial support to developing countries, it is proposed that provisions of support be included in the Nationally Developed Contributions of developed countries.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Semiotics
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2022


  • Categorisation
  • climate change
  • critical discourse studies
  • developed countries
  • developing countries
  • United Nations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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