Jan 15, 2021
Yes, we are glad to see the back of 2020. But so much happened over those 12 months that we think it warrants a special New Year’s episode. We invited four guests to come with us on a tour of the year, from Brexit Day to university strikes, Black Lives Matter and the US elections. Oh, and we also mention that pandemic that just went and upended everyone’s lives.
Please visit our blog,
www.wordsandactions.blog for information about our guests,
further links and resources. In this episode we start our review of
2020 by talking about the language use around Brexit. Anyone
interested in that topic can find relevant publications listed in
Veronika’s bibliography-in-progress on Brexit and language, which
is available at
Hansson, S. (2019). Brexit and blame avoidance:
Officeholders’ discursive strategies of self-preservation. In
Koller, V., Kopf, S., & Miglbauer, M. (eds) Discourses of
Brexit. London: Routledge, pp. 191-207. (see also this blog post:
Hansson, S., & Kröger, S. (2020). How a lack of
truthfulness can undermine democratic representation: the case of
post-referendum Brexit discourses. British Journal of Politics and
Veronika at one point mentions prison metaphors in the Brexit debate (e.g. ‘free from the shackles of the EU’), which she has written about here:
Koller, V. (2020). Analysing metaphor in discourse. In Hart, C. (ed.) Researching Discourse: A guide for students. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 77-96.
Our subjective look back on 2020 continues with the
university strikes in Britain early that year. We talk to Liz
Morrish, who was a speaker at some of the events around the
industrial action. Her critical studies of contemporary
universities, in the UK and elsewhere, are collected in her blog
Academic Irregularities (https://
Morrish, L., & Sauntson, H. (2019). Academic Irregularities: Language and neoliberalism in higher education. Abingdon: Routledge.
Liz mentions various frameworks for evaluating research, teaching and knowledge exchange at British universities, known respectively as REF, TEF and KEF.
Inevitably, our review of 2020 takes us to March and the arrival of Covid-19 in Europe. We look at the pandemic through the metaphor lens (pun very much intended) and talk to Paula Pérez Sobrino, one of the founders of the #ReframeCovid initiative. The collection of alternatives to the war metaphor for Covid-19 is available to view and download here: bit.ly/ReframeCovid – the link also leads to a form where listeners/readers can submit further examples. A group of scholars involved with the initiative have started to write about some aspects of metaphors for Covid-19 and about the initiative itself:
Olza, I., Koller, V., Ibarretxe-Antuñano, I., Pérez
Sobrino, P., & Semino, E. (forthcoming). The #ReframeCovid
initiative: From Twitter to society via metaphor. Metaphor and the
Social World. (see also this roundtable discussion:
Pérez Sobrino, P., Semino, E., Ibarretxe-Antuñano, I., Koller, V., & Olza, I. (forthcoming). Acting like a hedgehog in times of pandemic: Metaphoric creativity in the #ReframeCovid collection. Metaphor and Symbol.
Semino, E. (2021). “Not soldiers but fire-fighters”:
Metaphors and Covid-19. Health Communication, 36(1), 50-58. (see
also this blog post:
In the final interview, we reflect on the US elections and talk to Ulrike Schneider, co-editor of a book on the language of Donald Trump (which should win a prize for best book cover of the year!):
Schneider, U., & Eitelmann, M. (eds) (2020). Linguistic Inquiries into Donald Trump’s Language: From 'fake news' to 'tremendous success'. London: Bloomsbury.
In our conversation, we touch on Trump’s use of Twitter; after the storming of the Capitol on 6 January 2021, Twitter suspended the President’s account indefinitely on grounds of incitement to violence.
This brings Words & Action’s special New Year’s episode to a close, but we hope you will stay with us over the course of the year!