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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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From cultural islands to popular sites. Semantic sequences typifying museum descriptions on the Web: Christina Samson



Many museums, by exploiting the web, are turning from cultural islands into active cultural agents to face economic pressures and/or needs in a rapidly changing market and societal environment. Websites enable museums to popularise themselves by addressing a less elitist public on a one-to-one level with simple narratives and a combination of sign systems. Despite growing literature on the popularization of pedagogical and scientific genres, and on the effects of new technologies on written and visual communication in multimodality, there is a paucity of studies on the popularization of museums through their websites. This paper thus looks at the semantic sequences typifying a small specialised corpus of Italian and South African museum websites in order to investigate whether: meaning in the sequences varies across the corpus; the medium can affect the sequences and the relationship between web-writer and browser. The methodology adopted is quantitative and qualitative. The findings indicate that the narratives in the museums’ webpages are typified by informative-descriptive-evaluative discourses affected by the medium. Moreover, the data suggest that popularisation may be viewed in this web-related genre as sliding along a continuum between narrative and promotional discourse wherein information, description and evaluation overlap and intertwine while addressing a vast heterogeneous public.

Socio-cultural institutions evolve over time. In order to remain relevant and to fit into the experiences and needs of society, they have to change their focus and introduce different elements in their pro ← 139 | 140 → gramming. The forces that can encourage change...

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