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Back to 2014_08_19_ICS_El lenguaje de los medios de comunicación influye en el léxico, no en el fondo de la lengua

"Media language influences the lexicon, not the substance of language"

Inés Olza, researcher at the ICS of the University of Navarra, and Carmela Pérez-Salazar, professor of Linguistics, publish a book on the speech of the media.

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Inés Olza and Carmela Pérez Salazar editors of the book. PHOTO: Carlota Cortés
19/08/14 10:29 Carlota Cortés

"The language of the media fundamentally affects the lexicon, not the substance of the language". This was the opinion of Inés Olza, researcher at the project 'Public discourse' of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra, on the occasion of the new book she has edited together with Carmela Pérez-Salazar, professor of the department of Philology of the School of Philosophy and Letters. The volume, Del speech de los medios de comunicación a la lingüística del speech, gathers several programs of study in the fields of Philology and Communication on language in the media and discourse-oriented linguistics.

"There are many aspects of language such as syntax, morphology or grammar in general that are difficult to change. The part that is most influenced is the lexicon" explained the researcher, who indicated that in spite of the great expansion of the Spanish language in the world, there is a great unity in the background.

Inés Olza assured that there is no need to worry about the possibility of the media making citizens speak worse: "Fundamentally, there is a transfer of words that are striking and that have an impact on us, but the basis of language is not transformed".

Precisely, one of the articles in the book, 'La "indignación" de los "indignados": apuntes sobre el léxico, la semántica y la pragmática', by Manuela Catalá Pérez (Universidad de San Jorge), exemplifies this phenomenon. "There is a change in society -she pointed out-: some subjects appear who call themselves 'indignados' and this is transferred to the media, which act as catalysts so that it permeates society. The next step could be, for example, the inclusion of this new meaning in dictionaries".

The enunciative responsibility of journalists

Thebook also includes a article by the ICS researcher, graduate 'Epistemic commitment and enunciative intensification: pragmatic functions of some somatic phraseologisms in Spanish'. In it she analyzes "a series of more or less fixed expressions in Spanish of a very colloquial character with which one expresses the commitment to the truth of what one says". These intensify the speech and also affect what is called "enunciative responsibility", that is to say, the sender takes responsibility for what he/she says.

According to the expert, agreement , in the media field they can become a double-edged sword, since the journalist takes responsibility or, on the contrary, qualifies such responsibility. Some expressions of this subject are 'apparently', 'apparently', 'actually', 'from perspective X', among others, and are directly related to the way in which the journalist constructs the informative security and how he indicates his sources.

"This is very interesting for the pragmatics and linguistics of speech -apostilled the researcher- because it has to do with how we use language. This subject of pieces is being analyzed a lot in the media, since they build the image of the sender and modulate the enunciative responsibility, the journalist's responsibility".

The book, published by the prestigious academic publishing house Frank & Timme, was written by more than 25 experts in Linguistics and Communication from nine universities in Spain and Italy. The work includes programs of study as a tribute to Professor María Victoria Romero on her retirement and was presented at the framework of the XI congress International Conference on General Linguistics, held at campus in Pamplona. It should be remembered that Professor Romero was a pioneer in the analysis of speech and lexicon in the media.