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Informalization and Hybridization of Speech Practices

Polylingual Meaning-Making across Domains, Genres, and Media

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Edited By Amei Koll-Stobbe

Speech practices as discursive practices for meaning-making across domains, genres, and social groups is an under-researched, highly complex field of sociolinguistics. This field has gained momentum after innovative studies of adolescents and young adults with mixed ethnic and language backgrounds revealed that they «cross» language and dialectal or vernacular borders to construct their own hybrid discursive identities. The focus in this volume is on the diversity of emerging hybridizing speech practices through contact with English, predominantly in Europe. Contributions to this collected volume originate from the DFG funded conference on language contact in times of globalization (LCTG4) and from members of the editor’s funded research group «Discursive Multilingualism».

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Metaphor in doctor-patient online communication: Negotiating medical knowledge at the interface between specialist and non-specialist discourses

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Abstract: This paper discusses the role of metaphor as informing discursive strategy in online medical consultations. Considerable attention has been given to the pervasiveness of medical metaphors, with the aim of shedding light on their use and functions in a variety of healthcare discourses. Consistent with a constructivist cognitive-linguistic framework is the idea that speakers employ metaphors to promote specific understandings of medicine which might even impact on the types of therapies chosen. Among the different conceptual metaphors to be found in medical discourse, martial and mechanistic metaphors have been considered as the most conventional and pervasive, even more so in symptom-oriented healthcare models. By aligning with the research already existing on medical metaphors, the present paper aims to demonstrate how metaphor is used by both physicians and patients as a tool to negotiate and share medical expertise. The introductory parts are intended to offer an overview of the constructivist conceptual approach to metaphor research and of the use and functions of metaphors in medical discourse. The main part of the paper is devoted to the qualitative analysis of a small corpus of clinical interactions taken from the online medical portal Netdoctor.co.uk. Aim of this analysis will be to verify existing research in a new methodological guise, through the use of conceptual blending networks. The blend between specialist and non-specialist types of discourse in doctor-patient consultations gives rise to a new form of hybrid, possibly more informal discursive practice which does not however translate into a real change...

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