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The Language of Popularization- Die Sprache der Popularisierung

Theoretical and Descriptive Models- Theoretische und deskriptive Modelle


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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Rendering the dismal science more lively: popularizing Economics in English and Italian: Julia Bamford



The chapter deals with the linguistic strategies used in popularization, both lexical and grammatical, in particular the use of more explicit evaluation in two comparable corpora of popularizing discourse, one in English and one in Italian from the fields of economics and finance. The corpora are from two weeklies, The Economist and the supplement to the Italian daily La Repubblica, Affari e Finanza. The two corpora have been compiled to be of roughly the same length and time span with the same tenor and register so as to guarantee more reliable comparability. In addition, The Economist corpus is compared to written academic discourse in economics and finance since it includes an article every week which summarizes and popularizes a newly published academic article by well-known economists. This comparison leads to the question what gets included in popularizing articles and what gets left out? Do the two genres, the academic and the popularized, differ linguistically? The two corpora also permit the examination of marked differences between Italian and English popularizing discourse.

Popularized discourses include a wide variety of types of communicative genres, both written and oral, in which specialist knowledge is transformed or mediated for the layman. Although a relatively new field of research, it is important because the social representation of knowledge in scientific fields such as medicine, science, technology as well as in the social sciences like economics, is derived for the most part from the news media. The majority of people are...

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