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Identities across Media and Modes: Discursive Perspectives


Edited By Giuliana Elena Garzone and Paola Catenaccio

The recognition that identity is mutable, multi-layered and subject to multiple modes of construction and de-construction has contributed to problematizing the issues associated with its representation in discourse, which has recently been attracting increasing attention in different disciplinary areas. Identity representation is the main focus of this volume, which analyses instances of multimedia and multimodal communication to the public at large for commercial, informative, political or cultural purposes. In particular, it examines the impact of the increasingly sophisticated forms of expression made available by the evolution of communication technologies, especially in computer-mediated or web-based settings, but also in more traditional media (press, cinema, TV). The basic assumption shared by all contributors is that communication is the locus where identities, either collective, social or individual, are deliberately constructed and negotiated.
In their variety of topics and approaches, the studies collected in this volume testify to the criticality of representing personal, professional and organizational identities through the new media, as their ability to reach a virtually unlimited audience amplifies the potential political, cultural and economic impact of discursive identity constructions. They also confirm that new highly sophisticated media can forge identities well beyond the simply iconic or textual representation, generating deeply interconnected webs of meaning capable of occupying an expanding – and adaptable – discursive space.


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CLARA BULFONI Lexical Borrowing from English in the Internet Era: How to Preserve Chinese Identity? 215


CLARA BULFONI Lexical Borrowing from English in the Internet Era: How to Preserve Chinese Identity? This chapter focuses on the evolution and transformation of the Chinese language as a result of the influence of computer science in the Internet era. Lexical borrowing is of course not new in the history of Chinese, and over the centuries the Chinese lexicon has absorbed a large number of loans. In recent times, however, the impact of the Internet and, more in general, of globalization phenomena on language use and evolution has been causing huge changes in the morphology of Chinese and in its synonymic and stylistic systems. At the moment this phenomenon is the most widely researched area in the field of Chinese linguistics. The plethora of recently published papers on the topic provide extensive explanations of the processes at work in this new wave of borrowing, highlighting at the same time the fact that Chinese language purists are making a determined effort to preserve the cultural identity of the Chinese language, which is perceived as being threatened by a contamination with Internet English. The issue was also a main topic of discussion at a conference held in Beijing in November 2007 on ‘Language Identity and Lan- guage Change in Collision and Dialog Between Civilization’. On that occasion, the conclusion reached by the scholars participating in the debate was that language identity can only be reached through careful language planning, which will enable the different languages and their varieties to find their relative...

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