Catenaccio (et al.) illuminate the importance of a linguistic analysis of the news process, rather than a product based only analysis. The authors describe news as retelling; taking the meaning from one discourse and translating into another. This directly relates to many of the big methods and concepts of applied anthropology. Regardless of the field, the anthropologist will likely have a hand in this translation process (especially the policy process).

Issues arise in studying the process, and attempting to identify the “forgotten contexts” of underlying dynamics (1846). As the authors profess: an event is shaped by situations, institutions, and social structures while at the same time it is influencing them. Therefore discourse analysis could be extremely useful.

In social media for example, the same bit of news will elicit different styles of conversations based on the sharing platform. Twitter for example, allows for a back-and-forth turn taking conversational structure, but has a text limit. Facebook on the other hand, presents news with a comment form beneath, which caters to a more individual opinion posts and image (meme) responses.

With regard to conversational repair, another interesting comparison can be made. Facebook allows users to edit pretty much anything on their own page, and any posts or comments that are made. Twitter allows users to delete their posts as well. Even when users do this to try and fix a socially unacceptable post, they also perform an apology post. This brings up an interesting question. Can a speech-act occur without speech? Is there a difference in a public apology and a social media apology?

Towards a linguistics of news production. Paola Catenaccio, Colleen Cotter, Mark De Smedt (UGent) , Giuliana Garzone, Geert Jacobs (UGent) , Felicitas Macgilchrist, Lut Lams, Daniel Perrin, John E Richardson, Tom Van Hout (UGent) , et al. (2011) JOURNAL OF PRAGMATICS. 43(7). p.1843-1852


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Published by Nikki M

Applied Anthropologist and Digital Dance Specialist

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