Lexical indicators of profit and loss in Spanish shareholder letters
Through a case, frequency, and collocational study, this work aims to detect linguistic differences between the letters to shareholders of profitable and loss-making companies. In a sample of 50 letters from each group, two lexical categories were analysed, verbs and eventive nouns, using the corpus manager Sketch Engine. The results indicated that verbs and eventive nouns with an absolute frequency of at least five occurrences overlap in both corpora by 95.7 per cent and 95.8 per cent, respectively. The frequency analysis showed that those with significantly higher frequency in one corpus denoted events or activities that were to be expected for companies in their group, such as aumentar (‘increase’), crecimiento (‘growth’), or cumplimiento (‘compliance’), in the profitable companies; but terms such as relanzar (‘relaunch’), revalorización (‘revaluation’), or pérdida (‘loss’) in the loss-making companies. The analysis of the combinatorial properties of these verbs and nouns revealed subtle but significant differences between the two groups. In the case of verbs, the choice of the direct object is key, and in the case of nouns, qualifying and adverbial adjectives are crucial, as well as the Theme complements.
Aerts, Walter. 2005. Picking up the pieces: Impression management in the retrospective attributional framing of accounting outcomes. Accounting, Organizations and Society 30: 493–517.
Bhatia, Vijay K. 2008. Towards critical genre analysis. In Vijay K. Bhatia, John Flowerdew and Rodney H. Jones eds. Advances in Discourse Studies. London: Routledge, 166–177.
Bosque, Ignacio. 1999. El nombre común. In Violeta Demonte and Ignacio Bosque eds. Gramática Descriptiva de la Lengua Española. Madrid: Espasa Calpe, 3–75.
El-Haj, Mahmoud, Antonio Moreno-Sandoval and José Antonio Jiménez Millán. 2021. Machine learning models for classifying Spanish beaters and non-beaters financial reports. In Antonio Moreno-Sandoval ed. Financial Narrative Processing in Spanish. Valencia: Tirant, 179–198.
García Toro, Ana. 2022. Los marcadores del discurso en la narrativa financiera: Análisis de las cartas a los accionistas. ELUA. Estudios de Lingüística 38: 187–214.
Garzone, Giuliana. 2004. Annual company reports and CEO’s letters: Discoursal features and cultural markedness. In Christopher Candlin and Maurizio Gotti eds. Intercultural Aspects of Specialized Discourse. Bern: Peter Lang, 311–341.
Garzone, Giuliana. 2005. Letters to shareholders and chairman’s statements: Textual variability and generic integrity. In Paul Gillaerts and Maurizio Gotti eds. Genre Variation in Business Letters. Bern: Peter Lang, 179–204.
Kranich, Svenja. 2011. The use of epistemic expressions in letters to shareholders in France, the United States and Germany. Langage et Société 3/3: 115–134.
Kranich, Svenja and Andrea Bicsar. 2012. “These forecasts may be substantially different from actual results”. The use of epistemic modal markers in English and German original letters to shareholders and in English-German translations. Linguistik Online 55/5: 41–55.
Kilgarriff, Adam, Vít Baisa, Jan Bušta, Miloš Jakubíček, Vojtěch Kovář, Jan Michelfeit, Pavel Rychlý and Vít Suchomel. 2014. The Sketch Engine: Ten years on. Lexicography 1/1: 7–36.
Laskin, Alexander V. 2018. The narrative strategies of winners and losers: Analyzing annual reports of publicly traded corporations. International Journal of Business Communication 55/3: 338–356.
Luo, Yan and Linying Zhou. 2019. Tone of earnings announcements in sin industries. Asian Review of Accounting 27/2: 228–246.
McEnery, Anthony and Zhonghua Xiao. 2005. Help or Help to: What do corpora have to say? English Studies 86/2: 161-187.
Moreno-Sandoval, Antonio, Ana Gisbert and Helena Montoro. 2020. FinT-esp: A corpus of financial reports in Spanish. In Miguel Fuster-Márquez, Carmen Gregori-Signes and José Santaemilia Ruiz eds. Multiperspectives in Analysis and Corpus Design. Granada: Comares, 89–102.
Nickerson, Catherine and Elizabeth de Groot. 2005. Dear shareholder, dear stockholder, dear stakeholder: The business letter genre in the annual general report. In Paul Gillaerts and Maurizio Gotti eds. Genre Variation in Business Letters. Bern: Peter Lang, 325–246.
Patelli, Lorena and Matteo Pedrini. 2014. Is the optimism in CEO’s letters to shareholders sincere? Impression management versus communicative action during the economic crisis. Journal of Business Ethics 124/1: 19–34.
Poole, Robert. 2016. Good times, bad times: A keyword analysis of letters to shareholders of two fortune 500 banking institutions. International Journal of Business Communication 53/1: 55–73.
Poole, Robert. 2017. “New opportunities” and “strong performance”: Evaluative adjectives in letters to shareholders and potential for pedagogically-downsized specialized corpora. English for Specific Purposes 47: 40–51.
Real Academia Española. n.d. Diccionario de la Lengua Española (23rd ed., 23.5 online version). https://dle.rae.es/
Ruiz-Garrido, Miguel, Inmaculada Fortanet-Gómez and Juan Carlos Palmer-Silveira. 2012. Introducing British and Spanish companies to investors: Building the corporate image through the chairman’s statement. In Jolanta Aritz and Robyn C. Walker eds. Discourse Perspectives on Organizational Communication. Plymouth: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 159–178.
Skorczynska Sznajder, Hanna. 2021. The analysis of adjectives in letters to shareholders of British and Spanish companies from the Valuation Theory. Pragmalinguistics 29: 421–439.
Skorczynska Sznajder, Hanna and Rosa Giménez-Moreno. 2016. Variation in letters to shareholders from British, Polish and Spanish companies: A comparative study. Journal of Intercultural Communication 40: 1–21.
Swales, John. 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Taylor, Charlotte. 2013. Searching for similarity using corpus-assisted discourse studies. Corpora 8/1: 81–113.
Taylor, Charlotte. 2018. Similarity. In Charlotte Taylor and Anna Marchi eds. Corpus Approaches to Discourse: A Critical Review. London: Routledge, 19–37.
Thompson, Geoff and Susan Hunston. 2000. Evaluation: An introduction. In Susan Hunston and Geoff Thompson eds. Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1–27.
Vendler, Zeno. 1957. Verbs and times. The Philosophical Review 66/2: 143–160.
Vogel, Radek. 2020. Persuasion in business discourse: Strategic use of evaluative lexical means in corporate annual reports. In Olga Dontcheva-Navratilova, Martin Adam, Renata Povolná and Radek Vogel eds. Persuasion in Specialised Discourses. Cham: Palgrave McMillan, 159–195.
Wang, Jinxiao. 2020. A corpus-based analysis of collocations in Chinese and American letters to shareholders. International Journal Advances in Social Science and Humanities 8/6: 10–19.
Copyright (c) 2023 Research in Corpus Linguistics
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.