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Dr Dezheng Feng
PolyU Scholars Hub

Dr William Dezheng Feng

Associate Professor

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.

Education and Academic Qualifications

PhD (National University of Singapore)

Academic and Professional Experience

  • July 2019 - present: Associate Professor, Department of English and Communication, 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

  1. Feng, D. (2023). Multimodal Chinese Discourse: Understanding Communication and Society in Contemporary China. London: Routledge.
  2. Xiong, T., Feng, D., and Hu, G. (eds.). (2022). Cultural Knowledge and Values in English Language Teaching Materials: (Multimodal) representations and stakeholders. Springer
  3. Zhang, M. and Feng, D. (eds). (2020). Multimodal Approaches to Translation and Interpreting. London: Routledge. 
  1. Xing, C. and Feng, D. (2023). Multimodal Intertextuality and Persuasion in Advertising Discourse. Discourse and Communication.
  2. Wang, Y. and Feng, D. (2022). Identity performance and self-branding in social commerce: A multimodal content analysis of Chinese wanghong women’s video-sharing practice on TikTok. Discourse, Context and Media.
  3. Wu, Y. and Feng, D. (2022). Multimodal Discursive Governance on Social Media: Short Video News about COVID-19 on TikTok as an Example. Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2:31-50.
  4. Feng, D. (2022). Changing Authenticity in Teaching English as a Foreign Language: An Ontogenetic Analysis of EFL Textbooks in Hong Kong. Asian EFL Journal.
  5. Ho, J. and Feng, D. (2022). Orchestrating multimodal resources in English Language Teaching: A case study of an online English teaching video. Pedagogies: An International Journal.
  6. Yu, Y. Coffie, J.A. & Feng, D. (2022). Tradition, modernity, and the visual representation of leftover women” in the Chinese English-language newspaper. Feminist Media Studies.
  7. Yao, L. and Feng, D. (2022). Promoting Filial Values through Public Service Advertising: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis. Chinese Semiotic Studies.
  8. Deng, Y. and Feng, D. (2022). From researchers to academic entrepreneurs: A diachronic analysis of the visual representation of academics in university annual reports. Visual Communication.
  9. Bao, J. and Feng, D. (2022). Doing research is not beyond my reach”: The reconstruction of College English teachers' professional identities through a domestic visiting program. Teacher and Teaching Education.
  10. Feng, D. and Yu, M. (2022). Tradition, Modernity, and Chinese Masculinity: The Multimodal Construction of Ideal Manhood in a Reality Dating Show. Pragmatics.
  11. Feng, D. and Miao, X. (2022). The discursive construction of critical attitudes: The case of news commentaries. Modern Foreign Languages (现代外语).
  12. Deng, Y. and Feng, D. (2021). Marketization and Public Relations Communication in Higher Education: A Diachronic Genre Analysis of University Annual Reports in Hong Kong. Asian Pacific Journal of Education.
  13. Wang, Y., Feng, D. and Ho, J. (2021). Identity, lifestyle, and face-mask branding: A social semiotic multimodal discourse analysis. Multimodality and Society, 2: 1-22. DOI: 10.1177/26349795211014809.
  14. Wang, Y. and Feng, D. (2021). History, modernity, and city branding in China: a multimodal critical discourse analysis of Xi’an’s promotional videos on social media. Social Semiotics.
  15. Li, X. and Feng, D. (2021). Action Research on the Integrated Teaching of Ideological and Political Education in Business English CLIL Course. Foreign Language and Literature (外国语文), 37(2): 19-26.
  16. Xiang, X., Zheng, B. and Feng, D. (2020). Interpreting impoliteness and over-politeness: An investigation into interpreters' cognitive effort, coping strategies and their effects. Journal of Pragmatics, 169: 231-244.
  17. Xu, Y. and Feng, D. (2020). Multimodal Interdiscursivity in New Media Business Discourse: The Perspective of Register Typology. Foreign Language Teaching外語教學, 3: 23-28.
  18. 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.
  19. 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).
  20. 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.
  21. Cheung, J. O., & Feng, D. (2019). Attitudinal meaning and social struggle in heavy metal song lyrics: a corpus-based analysis. Social Semiotics.
  22. Xing, C. & Feng, D. (2019). The design and evaluation of multimedia university English language classroom teaching: A multiliteracies pedagogy perspective. Shandong Foreign Language Teaching (山東外語教學), 3:41-51.
  23. 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.
  24. Wang, B. & Feng, D. (2018). A Corpus-Based Study of Interpreted Political Discourse from China. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, 246-260.
  25. Zhang P. & Feng, D. (2018). Multimodal Corpus Research Based on Rhetorical Structure Theory. Contemporary Rhetoric (当代修辞学), 2: 72-81.
  26. Feng, D. (2017). Moral Education as a Curriculum Goal: The Multimodal Construction of Social Values in EFL Textbooks in Hong Kong. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
  27. 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.
  28. Feng, D. (2017). Metonymy and Visual Representation: Towards A Social Semiotic Framework of Visual Metonymy. Visual Communication,16(4) 441–466.
  29. Feng, D, & Zhao, X. (2017). Multimodal Metonymy and the Construction of Visual Meaning. Foreign Language Research (外語學刊), 6: 8-13.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. Guo, S, & Feng, D. (2015). The Visual Construction of Knowledge in English Textbooks from an Ontogenetic Perspective. Linguistics and Education, 31: 115-129.
  38. 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.
  39. Feng, D. (2015). Moral Education in English Language Teaching: The Multimodal Construction of Positive Values. Foreign Language World (外語界), 4: 90-98.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. Feng, D, & Qi Y. (2014). Emotion Prosody and Viewer Engagement in Film Narrative. Narrative Inquiry, 24 (2): 347-367.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. Dong, M, & Feng, D. (2013). Appraisal prosody and the communicative functions of multimodal discourse. Foreign Language Research (外語學刊), 4, 33-38.
  48. Feng, D, & O’Halloran, K. (2013a). The multimodal representation of emotion in film: Integrating cognitive and semiotic approaches, Semiotica, 197, 101-122.
  49. Feng, D, & O’Halloran, K. (2013b). The visual representation of metaphor: A social semiotic perspective. Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 11(2), 320-335.
  50. Feng, D, & Espindola, E. (2013). Integrating systemic functional and cognitive approaches to multimodal discourse analysis. Ilha do Desterro, 64, 85-110.
  51. Feng, D, & O’Halloran, K. (2012). Representing emotion in visual images: Asocial semiotic approach. Journal of Pragmatics, 44, 2067-2084.
  52. Feng, D, & Wignell, P. (2011). Intertextual voices and engagement in TV advertisements. Visual Communication, 10(4), 565-588.
  53. Feng, D, & Xing, Chunyan. (2011). Spatial metaphor and the construction of multimodal discourse. Journal of Foreign Languages (外國語), 5, 58-63.
  54. Feng, D. (2011). The construction and categorization of multimodal metaphor: a systemic functional approach. Foreign Languages Research (外語研究), 1, 24-29.
  55. 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.
  1. Xiong, T., Feng, D., and Hu, G. (2022). Researching cultural knowledge and values in ELT textbooks: Representation, multimodality, and stakeholders. . In Xiong, T., Feng, D., and Hu, G. (eds.). (2022). Cultural Knowledge and Values in English Language Teaching Materials: (Multimodal) representations and stakeholders. Springer, 1-18.
  2. Xu, Y. & Feng, D., (2022) Values in Business English Textbooks: A Multimodal Analysis Approach. In Xiong, T., Feng, D., and Hu, G. (eds.). (2022). Cultural Knowledge and Values in English Language Teaching Materials: (Multimodal) representations and stakeholders. Springer, 21-40.
  3. Feng, D. (2021). Focus on forms or focus on meaning: Evaluating the communicativeness of college English textbooks in China. In Lu, Z., Liu, M., and Zhang, W. (eds.). Teaching and

    Researching Chinese EFL/ESL Learners in Higher Education. London: Routledge, 82-100.

  4. Feng, D. (2021). Genre, pedagogy, and PowerPoint design: A multimodal move analysis of linguistics lecture slideshows. In Lin, L. (ed.). Approaches to specialized genres: In memory of Stephen Evans. London: Routledge.
  5. Qian, H. and Feng, D. (2020). Intersemiotic shifts in the translation of Chinese costume drama subtitles: A multimodal analysis approach. In Zhang, M. and Feng, D. (eds). Multimodal Approaches to Translation and Interpreting. London: Routledge.
  6. Yu, M., Feng, D. and Unsworth, L. (2020). Infusing pro-environmental values in science education: A multimodal analysis of attitudinal meaning in ecology animations for children. In Unsowrth, L. (ed). Learning from Animations in Science Education: Innovating in Semiotic and Educational Research. Springer.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.




  • PI: The Changing Representation of China in Hong Kong Media from 1997 to 2020: A Diachronic Corpus Analysis (Hong Kong UGC General Research Fund)
  • PI: Discourse, communication, and ideology in global public health crisis: A multimodal and corpus analysis of COVID-9-related news reports in China (Dean’s Reserve)
  • 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

  • Multimodality and intercultural communication research. Keywords in Intercultural Communication Research. 28 May, 2022. Sun Yat-Sen University.

  • Critical attitudes in China’s Digital Diplomacy: An Analysis of Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokespersons’ Twitter Posts on the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Conference on Appliable Linguistics and Appraisal Studies. 17-19 December, 2021. Shanghai Jiaotong University, China.

  • The multimodal construction of brand identity in the digital context. The 8th National Symposium on Business English Linguistics. 20 November, 2021. Shanghai University of Finance and Economi

  • Multimodal business discourse: Frontiers and methods. The First National Symposium on Business Discourse Studies. 16-17, October, 2021. Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.

  • 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


  • Adjunct Professor, Shandong University, 2020-2023
  • Regional Advisory Committee member, The Global Council on Anthropological Linguistics, at SOAS, University of London
  • Visiting Scholar, Australian Catholic University, 2018
  • Adjunct Research Professor, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, 2014-2016
  • Book Review Editor and editorial board member for Journal of English for Academic Purposes
  • Editorial board member of Multimodality and Society and Designs for Learning.
  • Treasurer and executive committee member of Asian-Pacific LSP and Professional Communication Association
  • Board member, Chinese Pragmatics Association
  • Junior Fellow, Hong Kong Academy of Humanities
  • Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Faculty of Humanities, PolyU, 2017

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

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