Volume 3, Number 9 (2009)
A publication of the Faculty of Communication & Media Studies and the University Research Institute of Applied Communication National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Multilingualism and media: Policy and practice
This article frames the discussion of multilingualism and media in terms of three interrelated aspects. First, the notion of media speech communities and media as sociolinguistic complexes is introduced and discussed. Second, Ricento’s (2000) taxonomy of language policy and planning is employed to examine how, though policy and practice, media constitute and demarcate speech communities; represent and describe variation in speech communities; and fragment existing or ‘stable’ speech communities to reconstitute new and multiple speech communities. Third, a continuum running between media texts and speech acts and mediatised texts and speech acts is proposed as a way of understanding and exploring the interaction of policy and practice with regard to multilingualism in the media.
Talk and action:Practicing internal multilingualism in the newsroom
Daniel Perrin, Marcel Burger, Mathias Fürer, Aleksandra Gnach, Michael Schanne, Vinzenz Wyss
This article presents the key concepts and outcomes of the ethnographic research project “Idée suisse: Language policy, norms, and practice as exemplified by Swiss Radio and Television”. The research question was whether and how the Swiss broadcasting company, caught between public service demands and market forces in a multilingual country, should, can, and actually does fulfil language policy requirements. Four research modules were combined: module A focused on external language policy expectations; B on organizational-hierarchical internal rules; C on text production, and D on quality control follow-up communication. The synthesis of the results of the four modules shows that policy makers, management, chief editors, and journalists turn out to have very different views of what public broadcasting should be and what language has to do with that. Four possible frames for the interpretation of these results will be discussed: the consonance/dissonance frame, the hypocrisy frame, the functional dysfunction frame, and the hidden knowledge frame. The discussion of the four interpretation frames will reshape a core problem of Applied Linguistics: providing adequate knowledge transfer between research and application fields – one of the ways for those of us in Applied Linguists to bring together our own talk and action.
Ethnographic sociolonguistics and the (new) media:
Insights from the study of a London comprehensive school
Recent social science studies of media have tended to stress their role in patterns of reception and consumption placing emphasis on the media source. Less is known, however, about how media engagements enmesh with daily realities, shaping both local interactions and impacting on social relations and peer-group organization. This paper focuses on precisely such engagements (ranging from reported interactions on the MSN to talk about music and TV series), which are both a routine phenomenon in the classroom interactional data under study and cover a wide range of (‘old’ and ‘new’) media. The data are part of the ESRC Identities and Social Action Project on Urban Classroom Culture and Interaction (http://www.identities.org.uk) which has employed the methods of ethnographic sociolinguistics to research the inter-animation of ethnic, techno-popular culture and educational identities in the classroom data of fourteen-year old students in a London comprehensive school. Insights from the audio-recorded data analysis are supplemented by extensive fieldwork, interviews with the participants and teachers, and playback sessions of selected key-excerpts. This paper reports on the results of the qualitative and quantitative analysis of media engagements in the data at hand, showing how media engagements both permeate classrooms and are drawn into the negotiation of the students’ interpersonal relationships and peer-group status in many different ways, which are in turn linked with the individuals’ larger social identities and self-projects.
«To krasaki tou Tsou»: Multimodality, intertextuality, and heteroglossia in Web 2.0
This paper draws on the case of a popular amateur video posted on YouTube in May 2008 to examine conditions and characteristics of digital communication in Web 2.0 environments. Against the backdrop of previous research on new media language, I propose two sets of categories as a basis for further exploration. The first captures four ways in which language contributes to the construction of web environments – as a means of organisation, self-presentation, spectacle, and user interaction. The second set identifies three key features of digital discourse: multimodality, intertextuality, and heteroglossia. The discussion uses these categories to examine the workings of this particular video and the subsequent comments on it, leading to wider conclusions on the study of digital language and discourse.
Text messages (SMS): Language attitudes and ideological representations in the Greek press
This study aims to explore the language attitudes towards text-messages (SMS), as they appear in the Greek press. The analysis of the data (31 articles, published in Greek newspapers from 2001 to 2003) follows the framework of Critical Discourse Analysis. In line with this framework, the analysis focuses on language choices that construct and sustain ideological representations and beliefs regarding language and communication in text-messaging. Furthermore, this study particularly examines specific journalistic practices, such as the practice of recycling news in different publications and contexts. It is argued that the meta-discourse on language use in new technologies, as documented in the specific publications, reproduces local language ideologies, which had been prevalent in the past, as well as ideological representations that abound in similar publications of foreign, primarily English, press. In other words, the study of the specific newspaper articles reveals how local and global ideologies interplay in the construction of the ‘SMS language’ myth.
Word clusters and stereotypical expressions in journalistic discourse
The article attempts to examine the view that journalistic discourse uses clichés and stereotypes, by studying word clusters in two sub-corpora of news and opinion articles (2 million words each) from the Corpus of Greek Texts (CGT), a general corpus of Greek. In particular, repeated lexical combinations of 4 and 5 words are studied in order to identify their types and frequency. Findings are compared to two CGT sub-corpora of journalistic and academic texts, as well as with data from other studies on Greek and English data. It is found that word clusters are more frequent in journalistic discourse than in other text types, but are usually due to thematic or structural constraints, while stereotypical expressions are also present to a certain extent.
Conceptual metaphors and lexical collocations in TV news reporting
Under the seeming linguistic variation of TV news reporting, there is a deep, cognitive and lexical, structure which can be depicted as a network of conceptual metaphors and respective lexical collocations. The analysis of representative types of news reporting, such as natural disaster news (a forest fire), financial news (oil prices rising) and sports news (a football match), proves that news representation in TV bulletins is a realistic fiction (so to speak) based on a few and recurrent metaphors which dramatize natural phenomena and social processes. Besides, the metaphorical construction of newsworthy events draws mainly on lexical collocations, i.e. quasi fixed expressions that everyone easily identifies as typical cues of the professional journalistic language.
Language variation in journalistic discourse
The purpose of this paper is to examine the stylistic and/or ideological dimensions of variation in verb morphology as attested in Modern Greek journalistic discourse. Research is based on a corpus of texts drawn from Greek newspapers and it focuses on the opposition of learned vs. vernacular forms (e.g., εθεωρείτο vs. θεωρούνταν). An earlier study (Iordanidou, 2001) has shown the use of standard forms to be rapidly spreading in the discourse of the Greek newspapers, while variation was exploited mainly for stylistic purposes; both standard and non-standard forms were also used to index a newspaper’s political orientation (e.g., Rizospastis, a newspaper of the left, showed a clear preference for the informal morphological choices of everyday speech, while Apogevmatini and Vradini, two newspapers of the right, indexed their political stance through formal learned forms). Against the backdrop of this earlier study, it is shown that, in recent years, there has been a significant drop in the number of non-standard learned forms in all Greek newspapers. Variation between learned and vernacular forms is still exploited for stylistic purposes, and, to a certain degree, it is still related to the political orientation of a newspaper (informal, everyday forms abound in Rizospastis, while Eleftheros Tipos, a newspaper of the right, was found to employ most learned forms attested in the corpus). However, morphological choices at both these extremes of the political divide no longer deviate from the standard norm of verb morphology.