In the financial world, the words sentiment and confidence are frequently employed to invoke the feelings of an individual investor or of investors in general about the future movement of a share or of the stock market in general. The article focuses on the use of the two words in financial journalism by examining all instances of sentiment and confidence in the on-line Hong Kong Financial Services Corpus and explores the hypothesis that they will differ from each other in line with how they are deployed in ordinary usage. Drawing inspiration from functionally-oriented semantics and Appraisal Theory, the core of the article reveals how the two words are employed in clauses and noun phrases in the corpus. Our findings reveal that sentiment and confidence are to a very large extent used in financial parlance as though they were synonymous. The use of these terms reflects the writers’ awareness of the role of emotions as a vital constituent factor in decision-making.

J Lachlan Mackenzie
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU University)

J. LACHLAN MACKENZIE is Emeritus Professor of Functional Linguistics at VU Amsterdam. With a PhD from the University of Edinburgh (1978), his career was in the Netherlands, working closely with Simon Dik, Kees Hengeveld and many others on the development of Functional Grammar (FG) and Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG). He is currently associated with three research groups in Iberia: SCIMITAR (Santiago de Compostela), EMO-FUNDETT (Madrid) and CELGA-ILTEC (Coimbra).

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