Carlotta Fiammenghi, Laura Pinnavaia

Complementing and Contradictory Meanings in the Discourse of Environment: The Case of global warming and climate change

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Climate Change; Global Warming; Corpus Linguistics; Critical Discourse Analysis; Scientific Communication.

The environment has been one of the most urgent matters of public concern in the last few decades; however, there is still a great deal of uncertainty and misunderstanding about what environmental problems are, what effect they will have on the Earth, and how they should be dealt with. One discrepancy necessitating closer study concerns the terms climate change and global warming: while scientifically speaking they are two distinct concepts, in general speech they often seem interchangeable, which creates a certain confusion around the topic. This contribution examines the frequency and collocates of the terms climate change and global warming in the "Corpus of Contemporary American English", by means of the methodologies of corpus linguistics and discourse analysis. The objective is to shed light on the use of the phrases in expert and non-expert American English discourse and the extent of their interchangeability. The results seem to suggest that there is indeed a difference in the way the terms are used in expert and nonexpert discourses, and that these differences have consequences, both on the way we cognitively frame the environmental issue, and how we respond to it emotionally.

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