The Role Polysemy can Play in Evoking Action: the Case of "recovery" in Economic Discourse
Petrella, Joyce Popovich
MetadataShow full item record
CitationPetrella, Joyce Popovich. 2011. The Role Polysemy can Play in Evoking Action: the Case of "recovery" in Economic Discourse. Master's thesis, Harvard University, Extension School.
AbstractThis thesis investigates a specific case of polysemy, the word "recovery," as it occurs in economic discourse and the role it can play in evoking responses in a speech community. The analysis explores the following set of questions: what are the linguistic dynamics underlying the marked emergence of this metaphor during the 2008 financial crisis? If the metaphor emerged during prior financial crises, what role did it play? Using both statistical and discourse analysis techniques, the study traces the attestations of "recovery" and its broader conceptual metaphor THE ECONOMY IS A PATIENT over four centuries. By applying the tenets of conceptual metaphor theory, the analysis reveals that THE ECONOMY IS A PATIENT metaphor carries significant cognitive freight via its conceptual blend attributes. Over time, these attributes are reactivated through economic and cultural narratives prompted by the stress of the financial environment. The cognitive freight conveys a powerful ideological and emotive force which can call on the speech community to take political, social, and moral action. The study concludes that, while often overlooked, diachronic analysis can be a powerful linguistic tool to study the cognitive as well as rhetorical and ideological dynamics underlying polysemy in a given culture.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367515
- DCE Theses and Dissertations