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COVID-19: The World and the Words Linguistic means and discursive constructions About the CWPS



The present paper aims to explore by which discursive and linguistic means the COVID-19-pandemic as a macro event has been translated into local micro events and to point to similarities and differences by comparing the initial statements by leading political actors from 29 countries across four continents. The comparative analysis is based on the theoretical and methodological framework of the socio-cognitive approach within Critical Discourse Analysis, which focuses on exploring the construction of in-, affiliated and out-groups. In addition, our analysis is informed by argumentation theory and nationalism studies. The results of our analysis suggest that the major consensus has been found in constructing the out-group. In most countries, the virus is conceptualized as the main proponent of the out-group. In contrast, the linguistic and discursive construction of in-groups and the affiliated ones displays greater variation, depending on the prevalent discursive practices and the social context in different countries.
no. 2/9 | August 2020
COVID-19: The World and the Words
Linguistic means and discursive constructions
Michael Kranert, Paola Attolino,
Martina Berrocal, Júlio Antonio Bonatti Santos,
Sara Garcia Santamaria, Nancy Henaku,
Aimée-Danielle Lezou Koffi, Camilla Marziani,
Viktorija Mažeikienė, Dasniel Olivera Pérez,
Kumaran Rajandran & Aleksandra Salamurović
Collaborative Working
Paper Series
no. 2/9 | August 2020
Special Issue: Discourse Studies Essays
on the Corona-Crisis
Main contact
Michael Kranert (University of Southampton).
About the authors
Short biographies and contacts of all authors can be found
on page 8.
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© Michael Kranert, Paola Attolino, Martina Berrocal, Júlio
Antonio Bonatti Santos, Sara Garcia Santamaria, Nancy
Henaku, Aimée-Danielle Lezou Koffi, Camilla Marziani, Vik-
torija Mažeikienė, Dasniel Olivera Pérez, Kumaran Rajan-
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Michael Kranert et al. (2020): COVID-19: The World and
the Words. Linguistic means and discursive constructions,
DiscourseNet Collaborative Working Paper Series, no. 2/9,
Special Issue: Discourse Studies Essays on the Corona
About the Special Issue:
Discourse Studies Essays on the
Corona Crisis
Edited by Jens Maeße, David Adler & Elena Psyllakou
This special issue seeks to collect ideas, reflections and
discussions on the multiple aspects of the ongoing corona
crisis from a discourse analytical and discourse theoretical
point of view. We publish short work-in-progress papers
(approx. 1000—3000 words) that take empirical, ethical,
psychoanalytical, economic, political and everyday aspects
as starting point for developing discourse analytical re-
search ideas and reflections which can be further devel-
oped into full research papers at a later time.
no. 2/9 | August 2020 1
The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be a truly global phenomenon, and probably the first of its
kind, since the lockdown as an emergency measure against the spread of the virus affected nearly
everybody and led to a “unique shared experience(Bieber 2020, 1). This distinguishes it from
other seemingly ‘global’ phenomena, such as the financial crisis or previous epidemics that were
confined to one or more regions (e. g. SARS). Given this experiential uniformity, the question
arises of how such general social phenomenon has been localized by discourse-linguistic means.
We therefore gathered an international group of linguistic scholars to explore this question in
more detail by performing a comparative analysis of the first statements of main political actors in
29 countries across four continents, including developed and developing countries.
Background and Aims of the Project
The national-oriented reactions (closing borders, restrictions of medical and social aid within
state borders etc.) were one of the most salient features in the very first phase of the outbreak of
the pandemic, challenging the concept of solidarity. These circumstances have brought to the
fore the concept of nationalism as opposed to global solidarity. Some scholars have argued that
global solidarity is generally being questioned (Ozkirimli 2020). In contrast, Malešević (2013, 14)
argues that solidarity is one of the key principles of nationhood, and “for an overwhelming major-
ity of inhabitants of this planet, nationhood is understood to be the principal form of human soli-
COVID-19: The World and the Words
Linguistic means and discursive constructions
Michael Kranert, Paola Attolino, Martina Berrocal,
Júlio Antonio Bonatti Santos, Sara Garcia Santamaria, Nancy Henaku,
Aimée-Danielle Lezou Koffi, Camilla Marziani, Viktorija Mažeikienė,
Dasniel Olivera Pérez, Kumaran Rajandran & Aleksandra Salamurović
The present paper aims to explore by which discursive and linguistic means the COVID-19-
pandemic as a macro event has been translated into local micro events and to point to similar-
ities and differences by comparing the initial statements by leading political actors from 29
countries across four continents. The comparative analysis is based on the theoretical and
methodological framework of the socio-cognitive approach within Critical Discourse Analysis,
which focuses on exploring the construction of in-, affiliated and out-groups. In addition, our
analysis is informed by argumentation theory and nationalism studies. The results of our anal-
ysis suggest that the major consensus has been found in constructing the out-group. In most
countries, the virus is conceptualized as the main proponent of the out-group. In contrast, the
linguistic and discursive construction of in-groups and the affiliated ones displays greater vari-
ation, depending on the prevalent discursive practices and the social context in different coun-
Keywords: socio-cognitive approach, social actor representation, comparative analysis, po-
litical speech, COVID-19-pandemic
Michael Kranert et al.: COVID-19: The World and the Words 2
darity.” Others, although not so exclusive in their observa-
tions, see the potential for proliferation of nationalism
worldwide (Bieber 2020). Although almost all political ac-
tors from our corpus invoke solidarity in one or another
form, the comprehensive analysis of our corpus will
demonstrate that there are differences in degree of soli-
darity and groups benefiting from it (for example, the case
of Italy and the lack of EUropean solidarity at the beginning
of the pandemic).
Nationalism as a nation-based ideology, draws on inclusion
and exclusion, which are two main principles in constitut-
ing any group (van Dijk 1998, 72), and therefore also a na-
tion (Bieber 2018, 521). In line with Anderson (1983),
nations need to be understood as a social construction,
mental model and cognitive structure that make up the
core of “imagined communities”. Within the discourse of
COVID-19, a crisis has not only provoked the need to mo-
bilize the “image of communion” between all members
who do not know each other, but it has initiated the pro-
cesses of discursive (re-)identification and of building in-
and out-groups. We have considered initial observations
from political and social sciences mentioned above in or-
der to explore the discursive and linguistic construction of
in- and out- groups. However, we would like to underline
the fact that this paper we present is based on the corpus
consisting of only one speech per country delivered in
March 2020. Further analysis incorporating more speeches
will follow.
However unique the experience with COVID-19 pandemic
might be, from the discourse point of view, it builds on al-
ready existing discursive and linguistic elements, as we will
show in our analysis. Bieber (2020) argues that the pan-
demic started at a moment when in many countries of Eu-
rope and North America an ideology he calls “exclusionary
nationalism” was gaining hegemony, in terms of both dis-
cursive and social practice (2020, 4). Many aspects of the
exclusionary nationalism were adopted when the pan-
demic started (e. g. appeal to the need to protect the na-
tion, linguistically conceptualized through metonymy
“country name for people” or particular metaphors). Fur-
thermore, the pandemic provoked “emergency poli-
tics” (White 2015) and crisis communication, which in
public discourse often relies on “representation[s] of na-
tion[s’] mood and sense of identity” (Matus-Mendoza and
De Rycker 2013, 426).
A further discursive element that plays a part in crisis dis-
course is the (re-)evaluation of citizenship as a national/
ethnic category: Bieber (2020, 8) mentions the case of the
Austrian chancellor Kurz in “his statements to the public on
the crisis, consistently addressed all Austrians, while ig-
noring the substantial number of permanent residents who
are not Austrian citizens.” The scholar warns that the “risk
is that citizens from the Global South will be particularly
affected by continuous border restrictions. The result
could be a reinforcement of global inequalities of citizen-
ship, especially as citizenship and migratory policies are
likely to remain more rigid.
Bieber’s analysis focuses on politicians and discourse sup-
porting exclusionary nationalism, but what about less ex-
clusive, more ‘banal’ forms of nationalism (Billig 1995)?
Ozkirimli (2020) observes a general tendency towards na-
tional reactions to the crisis, which he attributes to public
health being a national competency of the individual states
and the fact that “the nation-state – the institution – is the
gravitational constant that determines politics”.
An important limitation of the analyses of national reac-
tions to the COVID-19 crisis is their focus on developed
nations, while the crisis discourses in developing countries
might also include elements of a critique of the unequal
economic and geopolitical situation (cf. critique on power
structures, inequalities in global health system and sym-
bolic colonialism and racism within Europe-Africa nexus,
The Lancet 2020). There was, for instance, a widespread
view in many Global Southern contexts, such as Mexico,
Nigeria and India, that COVID-19 is a “a rich man’s dis-
ease” as in many of these contexts, the disease was im-
ported by people returning from their travels to China and
Europe especially (Bengali, Linthicum and Kim, 2020).
Also, unlike the COVID-19 Crisis, many recent epidemics,
such as Ebola, affected only Global Southern countries – a
situation that may be an important context for some of the
crisis communication in such contexts.
Developing Asian countries were the first to experience
COVID-19, and the virus was first considered a crisis in
Asia before it spread to Europe and North America. Unlike
previous health crises that were centered on particular
continents or regions (e. g. Ebola in Africa, SARS in Asia),
COVID-19 became a global crisis within three months. This
inspires a study of national reactions to COVID-19 from
countries with diverse geographic and developmental lev-
This paper starts from the assumption that emergency
politics’ is discursively constructed and examines it from a
contrastive perspective. Bieber (2020) and other scholars
observed that the global COVID-19 discourse is mainly
based on nationalist discourses. On the basis of our ex-
tremely diverse multilingual and international corpus, we
are exploring whether these observations can be con-
firmed empirically and if they also extend to centrist and
left-wing politicians. The analysis has therefore the follow-
ing aims:
1) To understand how the pandemic is discursively con-
structed by political leaders;
2) to carve out the most important discursive and lin-
guistic elements in the early statements of officials
from different countries by applying the bottom-up
3) to point to commonalities and differences in discur-
sive and linguistic features in analysed countries
4) to monitor communicative interdiscursivity and inter-
textuality during the pandemic timeline.
no. 2/9 | August 2020 3
Our project performs a comparative analysis of the first
statements of leading political actors in 29 countries in
four continents from developed and developing countries
(see the list below). To achieve a comparable data set, we
decided to collect speeches or announcements that were
given shortly after 11th March 2020, the day the World
Health Organization declared a pandemic. This was of
course not without problems – different political systems
will favour different roles in Government to make such an-
nouncements: While in presidential systems such as the
US and France this might be the president, semi-presiden-
tial and parliamentary systems might have a different
speaker with different restrictions on who she speaks on
behalf of etc. In Switzerland, for example, the government
always speaks as a collective, presenting the point of view
of their department – the president there is really only a
chair of this collective decision maker. These political insti-
tutions might therefore also have chosen different genres
that might influence the discursive features.
The polities and languages studied so far:
Europe (17):
Germany (German), Austria (German), Switzerland
(German, Italian, French, Romansh), United Kingdom
(English), Spain (Spanish), Netherlands (Dutch), Bel-
gium (Dutch, French), Italy (Italian), Croatia (Croat-
ian), Bosnia (Bosnian), Montenegro (Montenegrin),
Serbia (Serbian), North Macedonia (Macedonian),
Czechia (Czech), Slovakia (Slovak), Russia (Russian),
Lithuania (Lithuanian)
Americas (6):
North: United States (English), Mexico (Spanish),
Cuba (Spanish)
South: Brazil (Portuguese), Argentina (Spanish), Chile
Asia (4):
Brunei (Malay), Indonesia (Malay), Malaysia (Malay),
Singapore (English, Malay, Mandarin)
Africa (2):
Ghana (English), Côte d’Ivoire (French)
Theoretical and methodological considerations
The project is based on two main ideas around political
discourse: Politics is understood as collective decision
making (Klein 2000, 2019; Fairclough and Fairclough
2012). A course of action needs to be legitimized on the
basis of common values and an agreed understanding of
the situation and the issue in question (Chilton 2004). But
not only the course of action is socially and discursively le-
gitimised – the question of who can act on whose behalf
and what defines political entities such as states, nations,
governments, and institutions are discursively constructed
and contested socio-cognitive representations.
Two analytical heuristics therefore guide our analysis: The
social construction of political identities provided by the
crisis communication reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic,
and the argumentative legitimation of political actions.
When analysing textual data of political discourse, we need
to understand them in context. Here, we are guided by the
three-dimensional model suggested by Fairclough (2010,
131–34) and adapted for the socio-cognitive approach by
Koller (2012, 2014):
Macro-Level: social context, i. e. it points to social fac-
tors influencing text and discourse practice.
Meso-Level: context of discourse practice and the
participants involved in these practices, participant
role as well as the genre of the text
Micro-Level: linguistic and semiotic analysis of the
texts, construction of identities and political action
The research on social categorization as one of the basic
processes of social cognition and the linguistic means
which express them is elaborated within the socio-cogni-
tive approach to discourse analysis (van Dijk 2008; Koller
2014, 2019). The distinctive feature of the socio-cognitive
outlook lies in inferring the socio-cognitive representations
(SCR) from texts produced in a particular social context.
Socio-cognitive representations (SCR) are conceptual
structures defined as “organized, coherent, and socially
shared sets of knowledge about an object or domain”
Thus, collective identities are seen as socio-cognitive rep-
resentations comprising beliefs and knowledge, norms
and values, attitudes and expectations as well as emo-
tions” (Koller 2012, 20).
This knowledge can come from different sources, such as
media, the norms and values of the community on which
basis expectations are built and evaluations of groups are
performed. Such categorization leads to the construction
of group identities in discourse (Koller 2019, 71) and the
discourse space occupied by them (Chilton 2014, 2017;
Cap 2017). SCRs are dynamic and flexible, also because
they are not necessarily internally consistent but can show
contradictory elements that lead to their change over time
(Augoustinos et al. 2006: 99, as quoted in Koller 2012,
The basis for the distinction between the individual groups,
mainly in-groups and out-groups is a construction of differ-
ence, also known as bounding – construction of limits and
boundaries (Koller 2019, 71). The in-group construction is
based on self-categorization, being expressed by self-attri-
bution, assignment of action, motivation and shared val-
Besides in- and out-groups, Koller introduces another
group named affiliated group which is different from the in-
group, however, it is “sympathetic” or at least neutral to-
wards the in-group and shares some of its goals, norms
and values. “Members of the in-group and affiliated group
are likely to have a positive attitude towards each other.
The phenomenon of affiliated groups can be found in a
Michael Kranert et al.: COVID-19: The World and the Words 4
range of social, including institutional contexts, including
coalition partners in politics or allied nations” (Koller 2019,
72, emphasis by authors of this paper).
First Insights from the Data: National and inter-
national identity and group construction
The in-groups
A first step in the analysis was a content analysis that iden-
tified the textual construction of in-groups, out-groups and
affiliated groups. The categorizations we found were rela-
tive to the macro level context of the country analyzed. The
central in-group in the addresses are, of course, the listen-
ers, which are addressed to coordinate and legitimize ac-
tion. However, there is wide variation in the addresses that
already constructs local differences. As Bieber (2020) al-
ready observed, the Austrian Chancellor Kurz construed
quite an exclusive in-group by addressing his audience as
“dear Austrians” (similar to, amongst others, the American
President, the Lithuanian Prime Minister, the Malaysian
Prime Minister, the Ghanaian President, the Spanish Prime
Minister and the Chilean President), quite in contrast to the
German Chancellor who either talks to “Ladies and Gentle-
man” (similar to the Swiss government representatives) in
the press conference, or addresses the audience in her
video message as “dear fellow citizens” and talks about
the “population” instead of “the people” (similar address
can be observed in the speeches in Czech Republic, Slo-
vakia and Russia). The same holds for all Western Balkan
countries in the corpus, which however reflects more the
tendency to rhetorically conform with the notion of an “in-
clusive” state-nation concept while reinforcing nationalism
by other discursive and linguistic means.
Generally, there is also a widespread entextualization of
enablers during the crisis, mostly health experts/
researchers, volunteers in Lithuania, army in Switzerland,
Spain, Mexico, Lithuania and Serbia, civil servants in
Malaysia and Lithuania. These have different functions:
While health experts are used to close and depoliticize the
discourse about political options (“We are following the
science” – this can be found in Germany, the UK, Mexico
and Spain. “The government … uses WHO protocols, and
consults with health experts in the community …” in In-
donesia), the army is called upon as helpers mainly to sup-
port local communities and health care. Health care
professionals, teachers and shop assistants are often
thanked (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic,
Slovakia) and even construed as heroes (UK ‘our amazing
NHS’ – “national emergency … stay at home, protect the
NHS and save lives’; in Spain, Sánchez calls health profes-
sionals “our shield against the virus”, in the Czech republic,
the Prime Minister Babiš says that the health professionals
“risk their lives in the field”, President Putin in Russia
states that they “are now at the forefront of defending the
country”). Even in Ghana, where it is not common for he-
roes to be made out of workers and where a sense of skep-
ticism that tends to scrutinize public workers based on a
general postcolonial cynicism is popular and where, like
many African contexts, as Houeland (2000) indicates, the
work of health professionals during the crisis is signifi-
cantly impacted by a weak health delivery system, health
workers are construed as heroes in some instances. How-
ever, this happens outside the corpus analyzed here, as the
pandemic peaked slightly later in Ghana.
There are also cases, where the government (exclusive/
ambiguous exclusive ‘we’) is central to the in-group and
defends its actions. Boris Johnson repeatedly claims credit
for Government actions (we have …), while Angela Merkel
uses her TV address to “explain what we do to protect the
community”. In Serbia, President Vučić adopts even the
role of the National Assembly (“Under these circum-
stances, we, as the National Assembly, will inform you that
we have decided …”), although the parliament has been
suspended shortly before he gave his speech. The Czech
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš switches repeatedly from ex-
clusive “I am aware that we make life complicated for the
people [by imposing the protective measures], to inclusive
“nobody was ready for this. We are doing very well”. In Sin-
gapore, Prime Minister Lee says “We keep up our guard”
which spans the Government and citizens, indicating a
conflation between the two. In Chile and Cuba the presi-
dents appeal to the international recognition of their health
systems/measures in order to legitimize their concrete
anti-COVID-19 actions.
Affiliated Groups
As expected, affiliated groups are generally other countries
cooperating to deal with the crisis, mostly neighboring
countries. With this, neighbors are reassured that even if
borders are closed, they are seen as partners in this crisis.
Sometimes, countries further afield are construed this way,
either because an affected area becomes an affiliated
group as it is a place with a significant expat population
(Ghana), or because their knowledge or expertise can en-
sure the survival of the in-group (for instance, references
to South Korea by the Chilean President).
However, it is actually the differences between the
speeches that were particularly pertinent in terms of the
categorization of affiliated groups and out-groups and
therefore the transnational positioning of the different
countries in the crisis discourse.
A good example is the European Union: It was rendered as
an affiliated group in Austria and Germany, while being an
out-group in the USA and Serbia. The relationship between
the EU and the US has always been complex and challeng-
ing, but at the same time it has persevered and prospered.
The EU would have hardly been an out-group without Pres-
ident Trump, who has questioned the US-EU relationship
since the beginning of his mandate with his open criticism
towards the European project. In Serbia, the construction
no. 2/9 | August 2020 5
of the EU as an out-group (and China as an affiliated group
instead) must be seen, first, in the context of the authori-
tarian ruling style by the President Vučić, who decides on
political friends and foes, depending on what corresponds
with his political goals. Second, this is in line with the Ser-
bian discursive myth on being on the eternal crossroad be-
tween West and East (although the overall relations with
the EU has been intricate since 2000 for several reasons,
such as Kosovo independence, migration crisis, delay of EU
accession etc.). In Germany, Chancellor Merkel actually re-
ported directly from the EU summit when making her
statement on COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, nam-
ing the other heads of governments as “Colleagues” and
stressing the necessity of EU wide coordination in both the
immediate medical, administrative and the macro-
economic reaction. This is very much in line with Ger-
many’s strong pro-European but also hegemonic agenda.
In Chile, the EU equivalent would be Prosur, which inte-
grates most South American countries. A further example
can be found in the Indonesian President’s speech, where
he emphasizes communication with the WHO. In the
Ghanaian President’s speech it is transnational
organizations such as the WHO, WORLD BANK, IMF and
“friends of Ghana” that are thanked for theirassistance”,
their “pledges … in support of our fight” and to whom the
President indicates the government “will continue to work
with to defeat the virus”. These cases provide a counterex-
ample to the emphasis on nationalism in some Western
countries. This example introduces two crucial questions:
Is there a tension between deglobalization and globaliza-
tion and what influence does a country’s geopolitical posi-
tioning have on this transnational interpellation?
The major subcategory in the out-groups is the personified
virus (e. g. in the Netherlands, the USA, Cuba, Brunei, In-
donesia, Lithuania, Serbia, Czech Republic). The personi-
fied virus is first and foremost seen as an enemy to fight
against. This is evident in the lexical choice of military vo-
cabulary and metaphorical language (front-line, fight,
deaths, destroy, defeat, stop, hit, foreign/invisible enemy,
those who offend us/those who attack us). In Serbia, the
virus is directly named the enemy: “… as of today Serbia
has been at war against an invisible enemy, a dangerous
and vicious enemy that our country must defeat.” However,
the enemy may be indirectly implied: for instance, in the
Ghanaian president’s speech, there is no direct use of the
word “enemy”, but such lexical choices like “fight, “de-
feat”, or a possible hit on our borders” implicitly
constructs the virus or disease as an enemy, and the pan-
demic is said to be “wreaking havoc on the global econ-
omy”. This is also seen in speeches from Malaysia and
Particular aspects that have emerged regarding out-groups
are the following: they stand in contrast to in-groups; in
some cases, outgroups are historical adversaries (the his-
torical adversary is the US, who “has imposed” “all sorts of
wars on Cuba – a country at war”; or in Mexico: “We have
also faced our adversaries, who always seek to harm us,
although in that purpose, they harm the people”); out-
groups disturb the solidarity, and may worsen the situation
(or they are defined as showing lack of solidarity); out-
groups need to be warned; they may or may not be citi-
zens; physical borders do not correspond to out-groups.
Certain foreign countries may be indicated as adversaries.
For instance, Donald Trump sees both the EU and China as
being responsible for the outbreak in the US: “The Euro-
pean Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict
travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large
number of new clusters in the United States were seeded
by travelers from Europe” and “We made a life-saving
move with early action on China.
In some cases, particular groups are identified e. g.
traders in Brunei – who are warned about repercussions if
they continue their behaviour (“Traders are warned not to
take the opportunity to raise prices, and if this happens, my
Government will not hesitate to take legal action”). Also, in
some countries (Cuba, Mexico), media are regarded as ad-
versaries (“We have been able to face the yellowing of
some media. The spread of lies to frighten, false news”,
Importantly, compliance (or lack of it) with certain values
can constitute an out-group (rather than it being predeter-
mined). For instance, there can be no out-group a priori,
but it will be constructed as people/groups start develop-
ing or resisting certain values: being unsupportive, not
complying with regulations. For instance, quarantine viola-
tors receive negative evaluations that may be implicit
(Spain) or explicit (“Those who violate the established
quarantine will face criminal charges”, Argentina, “the de-
liberate violations of the measures is no fun or heroism”,
Czech Republic).
Conclusions – next steps of the project: Links
between Macro, Meso and Micro Levels
The overall goal of our project was to indicate by which
discursive and linguistic means the pandemic as a macro
event has been translated into local micro events and to
point to similarities and differences by comparing material
from 29 countries. As regards the text type, we have fo-
cused on the first statements by the political actors given
after 11th March. The comparative analysis is based on the
theoretical and methodological framework of socio-cogni-
tive approach within Critical Discourse Analysis, which fo-
cuses on exploring the construction of in-, affiliated and
out-groups. In addition, our analysis is informed by argu-
mentation theory and studies in nationalism.
The major consensus has been found in constructing the
out-group. In most countries the virus is conceptualised as
Michael Kranert et al.: COVID-19: The World and the Words 6
the main proponent of the out-group, which in our view re-
flects the meso level of our analysis, that is, the context of
the discourse practice. We have observed only one of the
first statements after the pandemic was declared, so that
the focus of the speakers was more on strengthening the
“imagined community” as the in-group.
The central in-group in the addresses are the recipients,
who are addressed to coordinate and legitimize action.
However, there is wide variation in the addresses that al-
ready constructs local differences: in some countries the
national orientation is emphasized by using generic noun
phrases such as “people” or ethnonyms, in others the
nomination is more inclusive by using “citizens” or per-
sonal pronoun “we”. The function of those nominations has
to be observed against the background of the general dis-
course features in particular countries, that is, to be linked
to macro and meso level of discourse (e. g. not the same
discursive function in Germany and in the Western
Balkans). This is to be an issue of further analysis within
our project.
The affiliated groups are generally other countries cooper-
ating to deal with the crisis, mostly neighbouring countries.
There are also substantial differences which reflect the
transnational positioning of the different countries (e. g. EU
as both affiliated and out-group). Furthermore, there are
cases in our corpus providing a counterexample to the em-
phasis on nationalism as observed in Western countries.
Ghana is heavily dependent on transnational aid so that
transnational organisations like WHO or World Bank are
conceptualized as some of the main members of the affili-
ated group.
Further steps in our analysis include a more detailed lin-
guistic analysis of the corpus on the micro level and linking
those results to meso and macro level of analysis. This will
particularly contribute to accentuating commonalities and
differences in discursive features in analyzed countries
worldwide. Moreover, we plan to include more speeches
from the analyzed countries in order to monitor commu-
nicative interdiscursivity and intertextuality during the pan-
demic timeline.
no. 2/9 | August 2020 7
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Michael Kranert et al.: COVID-19: The World and the Words 8
Paola Attolino is an Associate Professor at the University
of Salerno. Her main research interests include evaluation
in language, discourse analysis and pragmatics.
Martina Berrocal is a Research Associate at the Friedrich
Schiller University Jena. Her research interests include dis-
course analysis, pragmatics and corpus linguistics.
Júlio Antonio Bonatti Santos has a PhD in Linguistics
(Federal University of São Carlos, UFSCAR, São Paulo,
Brazil). He is member of the research group Laboratory of
Epistemological Studies and Multi-modal Discursivities
LEEDIM UFSCAR/CNPQ. He is currently interested in the
sociological discourse of violence and is dedicated to re-
search in Discourse Analysis field.
Sara Garcia Santamaria is an Associate Professor at Blan-
querna - Universitat Ramon Llull (Spain). Her research lays
at the intersections of populist online communication, au-
thenticity and the intimisation of politics.
Nancy Henaku holds a doctoral degree from Michigan
Technological University. Her research focuses on the in-
tersection between discourse, politics and culture in
Global Southern context-more specifically postcolonial
African contexts and their intersections with transnational
processes and discourses.
Michael Kranert is Lecturer in Sociolinguistics at the Uni-
versity of Southampton. His research interests involve so-
ciolinguistics, discourse analysis, political discourse,
workplace discourse, and corpus linguistics.
Aimée Danielle Lezou Koffi is a full professor at Université
Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Ivory Coast). Her research inter-
ests include discourse analysis and development, didactics
of French as a foreign language and gender issues.
Camilla Marziani is a graduate student at the University of
Bologna. Her research interests include discourse analysis,
sociolinguistics, and pragmatics.
Viktorija Mažeikienė is a researcher and lecturer at the In-
stitute of Humanities, Faculty of Human and Social Studies,
Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius. Her research inter-
ests include media literacy, discourse studies, systemic
functional linguistics, the language of evaluation.
Dasniel Olivera Pérez holds a PhD in Political and Social
Sciences and is Assistant professor at the University of Ha-
vana in Cuba, at the Department for Communication and
Media Studies. His research interests include communica-
tion theory, media studies and quantitative and qualitative
social research.
Kumaran Rajandran is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at
the School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia. His
research involves the multimodal study of corporate,
historical, political and religious discourses. He also
explores the articulation of identity and ideology in
contemporary societies.
Aleksandra Salamurović is a Research Associate at the
Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Her research interests
include discourse analysis, pragmatics and sociolinguistics
of script.
About the authors
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The article outlines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nationalism around the world. Starting from the premise that nationalism is a global and ubiquitous idea in the contemporary world, it explores whether exclusionary tendencies have been reinforced by the pandemic. The pandemic and government responses will not necessarily trigger the increase in exclusionary nationalism that both far-right politicians and observers have noted. However, there are 4 aspects, examined in the article, that might be shaped by the pandemic. These include the recent trajectory of nationalism and its social relevance prior to the pandemic,the rise of authoritarianism as governments suspend or reduce democratic freedoms and civil liberties, the rise of biases against some groups associated with the pandemic, the rise of borders and deglobalization, and the politics of fear. Thus, while the rise of exclusionary nationalism might not be the inevitable consequence of the pandemic, it risks reinforcing preexisting nationalist dynamics.
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Politik vollzieht sich in Rede und Texten. Diese Einführung gibt Auskunft darüber, wie und warum Rhetorik sämtliche Dimensionen des Politischen durchdringt, vor allem in Demokratien. Stets geht es darum, Bereitschaft zu Zustimmung oder Ablehnung zu erzeugen. Politische und gesellschaftliche Konstellationen, Institutionen, Themen, nicht zuletzt die Medienstruktur bedingen dabei unterschiedliche Formen und Mischungen von Wertebetonung, Ratio und Emotion. Das wird an zahlreichen Beispielen verdeutlicht. Der Inhalt Der Ort der Rhetorik in der Politik • Dimensionen politischer Rhetorik • Politische Rhetorik als sprachliches Handeln • Ethik und politische Rhetorik Der Autor Prof. Dr. Josef Klein ist ehemaliger Präsident der Universität Koblenz-Landau und Gastwissenschaftler am Otto-Suhr-Institut der Freien Universität Berlin.
Full-text available
The premise of this paper is that socio-political processes are not just “out there” in society but are mental processes in and among individuals. They are also predominantly verbal processes dependent on the unique language ability of the human species. They can and should, therefore, be studied by using the tools of cognitive science and linguistics. In this short paper, I outline two cognitive-linguistic theories that can be applied to socio-political discourse analysis: discourse space theory (DST) and image schema theory. The first is a formalised model of the way individual minds relate to situations and how situated cognition is structured in and through language – a model that reflects both Buhler’s theory of deixis and the French school of énonciation. The second, based on the philosophical and cognitive-scientific work of Mark Johnson and George Lakoff, focusses on pre-linguistic neurocognitive patterns that structure experience and linguistic meaning. In a third step the paper demonstrates how the theories can be applied in analysing the contemporary phenomena of populist discourse, in particular that of Donald Trump.
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This article presents an approach to analysing collective identity in discourse that distinguishes the linguistic and semiotic description of textual features from their socio-cognitive interpretation. Collective identities are theorised as conceptual structures comprising beliefs and knowledge, norms and values, attitudes and expectations as well as emotions, and as being reinforced and negotiated in discourse. A number of linguistic and semiotic features are suggested to ascertain what collective identities are constructed in texts and how. These include social actor representation, process types, evaluation, modality, metaphoric expressions and intertextuality. The findings from such an analysis are then linked to questions about genre and the participants and processes of discourse practice as well as to the social context and the ideologies by which it is dominated. The analytical procedure is exemplified with an excerpt from a retailer's catalogue that is investigated for the discursive construction and socio-cognitive representation of gender and sexual identity.
After his earlier book Discourse and Context, also published by Cambridge University Press, Teun A. van Dijk in this study presents the second part of his new multidisciplinary theory of context. The main thesis of this theory is that the influence of society on discourse is not direct, as is postulated for instance in sociolinguistics, but cognitively mediated by subjective mental models of the communicative situation: context models. These dynamic models control discourse production and comprehension and define the pragmatic appropriateness of text and talk. Whereas in Discourse and Context the psychological and linguistic aspects of context were analyzed, this book focuses on the social psychological, sociological, anthropological and political aspects of context. Tony Blair's 2003 speech defending his motion to go to war against Saddam Hussein and the following debate in parliament is used as an example illustrating the new theory. © Teun A. van Dijk 2009 and Cambridge University Press, 2009. All rights reserved.