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The Language of Popularization- Die Sprache der Popularisierung

Theoretical and Descriptive Models- Theoretische und deskriptive Modelle


Edited By Giancarmine Bongo and Giuditta Caliendo

In today’s knowledge-based society, exploring the dynamics of communicating specialised contents to the lay public is an undoubtedly topical issue. However, popularization still remains a rather unexplored territory and recent contributions to the field seem to lack a consistent methodological orientation, with hesitations in terms of shared and codified definitions. The contributions to this volume constitute a step forward in the field of popularization studies. New scenarios have been explored with a view to providing shared theoretical and descriptive models from a linguistic perspective and investigating the way popularization is characterised and instantiated, also taking into account its intercultural dimension. The research methods and tools draw upon the analytical framework of discourse analysis, pragmatics, corpus linguistics and genre analysis.
In der heutigen Wissensgesellschaft sind die Mechanismen des Transfers von Fachwissen an Laien von großer Relevanz. Dennoch bleibt Popularisierung ein linguistisch noch relativ unbestimmtes und unerforschtes Phänomen. Ziel des Bandes ist deshalb, neue Perspektiven zu eröffnen und auf mögliche neue konsistente Modelle (sowohl theoretische als auch methodologische) hinzuweisen. Unterschiedliche Ansätze kommen dabei ins Spiel, u.a. Diskursanalyse, Rhetorik, Pragmatik, Korpuslinguistik und genre analysis.
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Introduction: Giuditta Caliendo



No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

(Gibran 1923)

In today’s knowledge-based society where the level of scientific information is constantly increasing, exploring the dynamics of communicating science and specialised contents to the lay public is undoubtedly topical. Recent years have also been characterised by scientists’ willingness to engage the public in their work (Sands 2009), thus leading to the emergence of numerous and different instances of popular science communication. The general attitude towards the latter is also changing in that popularizations are no longer seen as ‘ancillary’ to the elitist technical/specialised texts (Hilgartner 1990). From what is perhaps a more functional perspective, the lay public is now reconsidering, and giving the right importance to, instruments of knowledge dissemination (Calsamiglia/López Ferrero 2003), possibly because the acquisition of specialised information in daily life is instrumental to becoming competent, informed – and therefore empowered – citizens and consumers.

Against this background, studies in the field of knowledge dissemination seem to have the potential for growth in significance and pervasiveness. However, surprisingly enough, popularization is...

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