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Creativity and discourse strategies in recent Spanish social protest movements

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  • UserManuela Romano Mozo (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid)
  • ClockThursday 03 November 2016, 16:30-18:30
  • HouseGR06/7 English Faculty.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Valentina Colasanti.

Languages are constantly changing; nevertheless, there are specific social contact situations, in which speakers share the same immediate communicative needs and purposes, which accelerate linguistic change processes and creativity. Social protest movements resemble contact language situations in many ways and can thus be considered real ‘laboratories’ in which to observe discourse creativity strategies on site.

The discourse of social protest movements, slogans and movement names in the main, are good examples of ‘extreme’ linguistic creativity since they share a same communicative need: to express an urgent and growing feeling of outrage; and specific purposes: to denounce the social, political and economic reasons behind the outrage, as well as to persuade interlocutors to join the movements and make sure their demands reach politicians. These factors, together with the immediacy of social networks, increases creativity as the new meanings and coinages can be captured and spread online without any control by the more traditional mass media.

To this aim, and following the latest work in socio-cognitive approaches to discourse analysis and creativity (Cameron & Deignan 2006; Kövecses 2010, 2015; Semino, Deignan & Littlemore 2013; Romano 2013, 2014; Romano & Porto 2016), this talk shows how one of the most productive linguistic creativity strategies, metaphor, is used within recent Spanish protest movements (2011- today). More specifically, I show (i) how slogans are created under the pressure of the specific topic of discourse (political and economic crisis), the physical locations chosen by protesters (Puerta del Sol), and the more general background of Spanish culture; and (ii) how the most salient and active experiences within the community are more prone to metaphorical creativity, as they are recontextualized or readapted from one social protest to another, even crossing to new domains and uses, as in the case of the Marea (Tide)-Movement.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Linguistic Society (LingSoc) series.

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