A case study of letters to shareholders in annual reports before, during and after the financial crisis

Barbara Dragsted

Abstract


Abstract: The present study investigates changes in themes and linguistic strategies in letters to shareholders from a large Danish bank’s annual reports published before, during and after the financial crisis. It draws mainly on genre theory and uses corpus linguistics as the primary method for collecting and analysing data. The study investigates the occurrence of recurrent and idiosyncratic themes, interactional discourse markers and charged and neutral words across three periods of time: before the crisis (2004-2007), during the crisis (2008-2011) and after the crisis (2012-2013). It is found that while the first (pre-crisis) and second (during crisis) periods differ from each other mainly with respect to the themes discussed in light of the developments in external circumstances and the bank’s financial performance, the latter (post-crisis) period reflects a more fundamental shift in genre, manifested in a less technical vocabulary, higher frequency of interactional discourse markers and more charged words.

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