Authors: Habibah Ismail, et al.
SAGE Open, Volume 12, Issue 2, April-June 2022.
This study examines representations of athletes with impairments who competed at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Discourse analysis from a linguistic perspective was employed to investigate gendered descriptions of disabled persons and the emotional expressions of Paralympic athletes, as printed in verbal and visual texts found in Malaysian English Language newspapers. Emotional expressions displayed in visual texts were analyzed through visual semiotics. Additionally, corpus assisted analysis was employed to triangulate the findings where necessary. Findings indicated that disability sport had little in common with non-disability sport in terms of coverage volume. Written depictions of perceived impairment most frequently used medical terms to describe both female and male athletes and were concentrated in the lead paragraphs. There were more pictures of athletes that focused on faces rather than on impairments. Finally, analyses prominently revealed that emotional elements were an integral part of the Paralympic sports news narrative, with all positive emotion words for males, and facial affect for both females and males also positive. Many pictures depicted smiles and happy expressions at medal award ceremonies.