Language and Media

mediaangleNearly all of the most familiar, well-established channels of Popular Culture that are intended for a mass audience (e.g. TV, film, radio, tabloid press, etc.) normally require formal organizations; they are all typically public and are directed toward large audiences, which are most likely heterogeneous. In what ways do these factors affect the communicative situation? In addition, most of these channels are marked by a set of processes, practices and conventions that the people within it have developed over time within a particular social and cultural context. How do those processes, practices and conventions influence the form and content of an utterance?

With this specific background as its starting point, the Language and Media angle on Popular Culture has a different type of focus than the other research areas discussed on this website. Rather than concentrate on any particular Popular Culture manifestation, theme or theory, this strand emphasizes the relationship between language use and the specific channel in which that language is mediated; put differently, it explores the role of specific media practices in relation to the representation, construction and/or production of language. The typical types of questions asked here are, for example, how is language affected by the very fact that it is mediated through ‘X’ channel (e.g. TV, Film, online game, etc.)? How is the mediated language in question different from the so-called canonical (face-to-face) speech situation or from language mediated in some other way?

This approach to media language is a necessary complement to the other research angles discussed here since no Popular Culture phenomenon can be completely understood without considering how it is transmitted to its audience; that said, this area also has much to offer to other disciplines on whose territory it touches: discourse analysis, semiotics, communication studies, sociology and social psychology.

Recommended reading (see also ‘The Digital Angle’)

  • Durant, A. (2009). Language and media: a resource book for students. London?; New York: Routledge.
  • Fairclough, N. (1995). Media discourse. London; New York: E. Arnold.
  • Fairclough, N. (2010). Critical discourse analysis: the critical study of language. Harlow, England; New York: Longman.
  • Gee, J. P. (2011). An introduction to discourse analysis: theory and method (3rd ed.). Milton Park, Abingdon?; New York: Routledge.
  • Richardson, J. E. (2007). Analysing newspapers: an approach from critical discourse analysis. Basingstoke [England]?; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Television studies: the key concepts. (2008) (2nd ed.). London?; New York: Routledge.

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