Macquarie University
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Cross linguistic and cross cultural study of horoscope registers and astrology websites

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:49 authored by Jiang Li He
Astrology is regarded by most people as a form of pseudo science. Nevertheless, astrology constitutes a very successful spectrum of popular registers. For example, horoscopes are one of the most popular astrological texts. They still survive into contemporary era. This creates an interesting question that can be viewed linguistically and culturally. A broad cultural question is why people turn to astrology and horoscopes even when they know that it is not an authentic science. From a linguistic point of view, this question can be framed in terms of the construction of meaning: what kinds of meaning is the culture valuing in the horoscope register? And, how has this register affected the living of life? Consequently, the horoscope register offers a significant opportunity to examine the processes of meaning and cultural values. In this thesis, I pursue the semantic functions of the horoscope registers across four languages (Chinese, Japanese, English and German). My focus is on the issue of the horoscopes as presented on websites. For examining the semantic functions of horoscope registers, in this thesis, I analysed and compared the grammatical choices made in the imperative and relational clauses of horoscope texts across four languages: English; Chinese; Japanese; and German. In this study, the systemic functional grammar of Halliday is applied to the cross linguistic and cross cultural analysis of horoscope registers. By the provisional and quantitative studies of horoscope texts on websites across the four languages, the semantic consistencies were clarified – the texts line up in a cline from the motifs of caution (at the Chinese pole) and the variants of opportunism (in the English texts). In between semantically, the German texts give accentuation to reasoning; and the Japanese horoscopes promote caution, but less insistently than the Chinese texts (also feature aspects of the more individualist and progressive approach of English horoscope writers).


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Literature review and methodology -- 3. Qualitative and quantitative studies of English and German horoscope registers -- 4. Qualitative and quantitative studies of Chinese horoscope register -- 5. Qualitative and quantitative studies of Japanese horoscope register -- 6. The qualitative study of astrology websites -- 7. Conclusion -- Appendices: -- Appendix 1. Data of qualitative and quantitative study of English horoscope register -- Appendix 2. Data of qualitative and quantitative study of Chinese horoscope register -- Appendix 3. Data qualitative and quantitative study of Japanese horoscope register -- Appendix 4. Data of qualitative study of German and English horoscopes -- Appendix 5. Networks of field, tenor and mode


This thesis is presented for the degree of the Doctor of Philosophy" "2011 Bibliography: pages 514-516

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics, Centre for Language in Social Life

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

David Butt


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Jiang Li He 2013.




1 online resources (516 pages) colour illustrations, charts, graphs

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