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Picture of Feng, William Dezheng (Dr)
Feng, William Dezheng (Dr)
Associate Professor

PhD (National University of Singapore)

Room No.AG408
Tel2766 4383
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Find William Feng at Google Scholar

Research Overview

My research focuses on the analysis of various types of multimodal discourse, such as advertising, film, newspaper, social media, classroom teaching, and textbooks. The main theoretical approaches I adopt fall within the areas of systemic functional linguistics (SFL), critical discourse analysis, conceptual metaphor theory (CMT), and pragmatics. A main theoretical focus of my research has been to integrate SFL and CMT in describing visual metaphors and metonymies. My analysis of multimodal discourse is essentially social and critical. I consider multimodal discourses as social semiotic constructs which realize specific communicative purposes and social functions on the one hand, and reflect social values, culture, and ideology on the other. My recent research has two focuses. One is on social values, attitudes, culture and ideology in political, news, public service and textbook discourses. The other is on corporate communication and advertising in new media (social media and e-commerce). I am currently working on ‘multimodal Chinese discourse’, which analyses various forms of media discourse with the aim of understanding communication and society in contemporary China.

Academic & Professional Experience

July 2019-present Associate Professor, Department of English, PolyU
June 2016-June 2019 Assistant Professor, Department of English, PolyU
March 2013- June 2016 Research Assistant Professor, Department of English, PolyU

Teaching Areas

Advertising and visual art
Multimodal discourse analysis
New media and communication

Research Interests 

Multimodal discourse analysis 
Systemic functional theory 
Media and communication 
Multiliteracies and language teaching

Research Output

Journal Articles

Feng, D. (2019). Interdiscursivity, Social Media and Marketized University Discourse: A Genre Analysis of Universities’ Recruitment Posts on WeChat. Journal of Pragmatics, 143, 121-134.

Feng, D. (2019) Infusing moral education into English language teaching: an ontogenetic analysis of social values in EFL textbooks in Hong Kong. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 40:4, 458-473.

Huang, W, & Feng, D. (2019): Exploring the dynamics of motivation for learning Japanese among Chinese learners: an elicited metaphor analysis. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2019.1571071.

Li, Y, & Feng, D. (2019). The Systemic Functional Interpretation of the Multiliteracies Pedagogy. Theory and Practice of Foreign Language Teaching (外語教學理論與實踐).

Feng, D, & Zhang, S. (2018). Language, Attitude and Party Politics: A Critical Analysis of the Representation of Republicans and Democrats in Presidential Weekly Addresses. Pragmatics and Society, 9(2): 232-251.

Wang, B. & Feng, D. (2018). A Corpus-Based Study of Interpreted Political Discourse from China. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, 246-260.

Zhang P. & Feng, D. (2018). Multimodal Corpus Research Based on Rhetorical Structure Theory. Contemporary Rhetoric, 2: 72-81.

Feng, D. (2017). Ideological dissonance among Chinese newspapers in Hong Kong: A corpus-base analysis of attitude towards Occupy Central Movement. Discourse and Communication, 11(6): 549-566. DOI: 10.1177/0123456789123456

Feng, D. (2017). Metonymy and Visual Representation: Towards A Social Semiotic Framework of Visual Metonymy. Visual Communication,16(4) 441–466.

Feng, D, & Zhao, X. (2017). Multimodal Metonymy and the Construction of Visual Meaning. Foreign Language Research (外語學刊), 6: 8-13.

Feng, D. (2017). Classroom Teaching Design based on the Multilteracies Pedagogy: Case Study of an English Linguistics Course. China Foreign Languages (中國外語), 14(3): 55-63.

Feng, D. (2017). Basic questions of multimodal discourse analysis. Journal of Beijing International Studies University (北京第二外國語學院學報), 3:1-12.

Li, Y, & Feng, D. (2017). PowerPoint Design and Construction of Linguistic Knowledge: A Multiliteracy Pedagogy Perspective. E-Education Research (電化教育研究), 5: 95-100. 

Zhao, X, & Feng, D. (2017). The Construction of China Image by Multimodal Metaphtonymy Complex. Journal of Xi’an International Studies University (西安外國語大學學報), 2: 31-35.

Feng, D, Zhang, Y, & Wang Y. (2016). The Application of Rhetorical Structure Theory in Multimodal Discourse Analysis. Contemporary Rhetoric (當代修辞學), 5: 49-58.

Feng, D. (2016). Promoting Moral Values through Entertainment: A Social Semiotic Analysis of 2014 Spring Festival Gala on China Central Television. Critical Arts, 29(1): 87-101.

Feng, D, & Kashyap, A. (2016). Review of S. Starc, C. Jones and A. Maiorani (eds). Meaning Making in Text. Applied Linguistics, 37 (2): 299-302.

Guo, S, & Feng, D. (2015). The Visual Construction of Knowledge in English Textbooks from an Ontogenetic Perspective. Linguistics and Education, 31: 115-129. B (SSCI)

Qi, Y, Sun, Y, & Feng, D. (2015). New Media and English Language Teaching in China: A Case Study based on Multiliteracies Pedagogy. TESOL International Journal, 10 (1): 141-152. International referred.

Feng, D. (2015). Moral Education in English Language Teaching: The Multimodal Construction of Positive Values. Foreign Language World (外語界), 4: 90-98.

Feng, D. (2015). The New Development of Visual Grammar: A Framework for Visual Narrative Analysis based on Picture Books. Foreign Language Education (外語教學), 3: 23-26.

Feng, D, & Low, F. (2015). State of the Art and Future Directions of Multimodal Studies: A Review of 7th International Conference on Multimodality. Journal of Foreign Languages (外國語), 5, 104-110.

Dong, M, & Feng, D. (2015). Parallel Corpus-based Study of Explicitation Strategy of Logical Relations in E-C EST Translation. Foreign Language Education (外語教學), 2: 93-96.

Feng, D, & Qi Y. (2014). Emotion Prosody and Viewer Engagement in Film Narrative. Narrative Inquiry, 24 (2): 347-367.

Feng, D, Zhang, D, & O’Halloran, K. (2014). Advances and frontiers of multimodal discourse analysis. Contemporary Linguistics (當代語言學), 1, 88-99.

Feng, D, & Qi, Y. (2014). The multimodal construction of attitude: A cognitive appraisal theory perspective. Modern Foreign Languages (現代外語), 4: 485-596.

Feng, D, & Qi, Y. (2014). Multimodal metaphor and advertising discourse analysis: metaphor systems and quantitative analysis. Journal of University of Science and Technology Beijing (北京科技大學學報), 6: 9-13.

Dong, M, & Feng, D. (2013). Appraisal prosody and the communicative functions of multimodal discourse. Foreign Language Research (外語學刊), 4, 33-38.

Feng, D, & O’Halloran, K. (2013a). The multimodal representation of emotion in film: Integrating cognitive and semiotic approaches, Semiotica, 197, 101-122.

Feng, D, & O’Halloran, K. (2013b). The visual representation of metaphor: A social semiotic perspective. Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 11(2), 320-335.

Feng, D, & Espindola, E. (2013). Integrating systemic functional and cognitive approaches to multimodal discourse analysis. Ilha do Desterro, 64, 85-110.

Feng, D, & O’Halloran, K. (2012). Representing emotion in visual images: Asocial semiotic approach. Journal of Pragmatics, 44, 2067-2084.

Feng, D, & Wignell, P. (2011). Intertextual voices and engagement in TV advertisements. Visual Communication, 10(4), 565-588.

Feng, D, & Xing, Chunyan. (2011). Spatial metaphor and the construction of multimodal discourse. Journal of Foreign Languages (外國語), 5, 58-63.

Feng, D. (2011). The construction and categorization of multimodal metaphor: a systemic functional approach. Foreign Languages Research (外語研究), 1, 24-29.

Feng, D. (2010). Digital technology and multimodal discourse analysis (in Chinese). Journal of University of Science and Technology Beijing (北京科技大學學報), 4, 12-17.


Book Chapters

Feng, D. (2019). Analysing Multimodal Chinese Discourse: Integrating social semiotic and conceptual metaphor theories. In Shih, C. (ed.). Routledge Handbook of Chinese Discourse Analysis. London: Routledge, 65-81.

Veloso, F. O. D, & Feng, D. (2018). “The end is near”: Negative attitude and fear in public discourse. In Jana Pelclova and Wei-lun Lu (eds). Persuasion in public discourse: Cognitive and functional perspectives. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 109-124.

Feng, D. (2016). Political Advertising and Public Service Advertising. In Kara Chan (ed.). Social Issues of Advertising. Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press, 201-216.

Forey, Gail, & Feng, D (2016). Interpersonal Meaning and Audience Engagement in Academic Presentations: A Multimodal Discourse Analysis Perspective. In Ken Hyland and Philip Shaw (eds). The Routledge Handbook of English for Academic Purposes. London: Routledge, 416-430.

Qi, Y, & Feng, D. (2015). The lexicogrammatical construction of stance. In Xu, Xunfeng & Chen, Jiansheng (Eds.). Language Meaning: Discourse, Grammar, and Corpus. Shanghai: Shanghai Jiaotong University Press, 113-122.

Feng, D. (2011). Visual space and ideology: A critical cognitive analysis of spatial orientations in advertising. In K. L. O'Halloran and B. Smith. (Eds). Multimodal Studies: Exploring Issues and Domains. New York & London: Routledge, 55-75.


Research Projects (funded projects – both internal and external)

PI: University Marketization through New Media: A Cross-cultural Perspective

PI: Multimodal Analysis of Public Service Discourse in China

PI: Discourse and Governance: Analysis of Persuasive Strategies in Public Service Advertisements in Hong Kong

PI: Discursive Mechanisms of Persuasion in TV Advertisements

PI: Multiliteracies in English Language Education: Exploring Knowledge Construction in English Textbooks and Textbook Reception

PI: English Textbooks in HK and Mainland China: A Comparative Multimodal Analysis

Co-I: Multimodal Analysis of News Reports on China in Western Media 


Plenary/Keynotes Talks

International Conference on Appliable Linguistics and Multimodality. Shanghai Jiaotong University, 9-11, August 2019

International Symposium on Cognition, Metaphor and Thinking. Jiangsu Normal University, 28-29, December 2018.

The Pearl River Roundtable on Multimodal Discourse Analysis, Sun Yat-Sen University, 25, November 2018.

The 1st National Forum on Multimodality. Tongji University, 24-26 November 2017.

The 3rd International Conference of the Semiosis Research Center at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Seoul, South Korea, 29 April 2016.


Esteem Measures

Honorary appointments

Visiting Scholar, Australian Catholic University, 2018

Adjunct Research Professor, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, 2014-2016


Professional associations

Junior Fellow, Hong Kong Academy of Humanities


Awards and honours

Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Faculty of Humanities, PolyU, 2017

Dean’s Award for Research Excellence, Faculty of Humanities, PolyU, 2016