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Contrastive analysis of climate-related neologisms registered in GermanN and French Wikipedia

  • Neologisms represent new social norms, tendencies, controversies and attitudes. They denote new or changed concepts which are constantly being negotiated between different members of the discourse community (Wodak 2022 and Catalano/Waugh (eds.) 2020). Neologisms help to identify new communicative patterns and narratives which illustrate different strings of discourse in everyday life. In recent years, many neologisms relating to the subject of the environment and climate have been emerging around the world mainly due to dominant discussions on climate change and the movement “Fridays for Future”. In German, for example, neologisms such as Klimakleber, klimaresilient and globaler Streik and in French neologisms such as éco-anxiété, justice climatique and écocitoyen could be observed. These neologisms occur in many domains of life, for example in politics, media and also in advertising, which means that “l’importance croissante des enjeux environnementaux dans les discours politiques, médiatiques et publicitaires” (Balnat/Gérard 2022, p. 22) can be identified. However, it is not only the occurrence of environment- or climate-related topics that is increasing, but also the rising polarisation of the public debate. The polarisation within public discourse is based on the fact that there are opposing positions which are represented by new or recently relevant terms such as activistes du climat (or Klimaaktivisten) and climatosceptiques (or Klimaskeptiker) (Balnat/Gérard 2022, p. 22). Due to different identifications with one or the other side, one can also speak of an “affrontement idéologique” (Balnat/Gérard 2022, p. 23). 1 The explosive nature and the high complexity of the debate on climate and the environmental issues mean that many words are naturally unfamiliar to people. This is especially true with regard to neologisms. In addition, it is often not only the new word itself but also the signified concept that is initially unknown. When people then look up words, they often do so on the Internet. Wikipedia as a “free encyclopedia” (Wikipedia 2023) is particularly well suited as an object of study with regard to neologisms, since factual knowledge is given special attention there. Furthermore, this reference guide is perceived as a regular source of agreed and common knowledge on all sorts of subjects. Hence, the descriptions found here represent social agreement on controversial terms and discussions to some degree. In this paper, German and French neologisms from the subject area of climate and environment will be examined primarily in Wikipedia, but also in the neighbouring resource Wiktionary,2 which is “a collaborative project to produce a free-content multilingual dictionary” (Wiktionary 2023). Since Wikipedia and Wiktionary are available in French and in German, 21010. International Contrastive Linguistics Conference (ICLC) both are equally suitable for the contrastive analysis. Thus, Wikipedia articles which are accessible in both languages (e.g. Klimanotstand and État d›urgence climatique) or Wikipedia articles about similar events and phenomena (e.g. Letzte Generation and Dernière Rénovation) will be compared. For example, we will have a closer look at other new terms specifying different thematic aspects of the discourse of climate and environment. We will mainly refer to those lexical items which can be found in the respective articles in both languages. Special emphasis will be on overlaps and differences, thematic foci, speaker’s positions and evaluative terms.

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Author:Julia PawelsGND
Parent Title (English):10th International Contrastive Linguistics Conference (ICLC-10), 18-21 July, 2023, Mannheim, Germany
Place of publication:Mannheim
Editor:Beata Trawiński, Marc Kupietz, Kristel Proost, Jörg Zinken
Document Type:Part of a Book
Year of first Publication:2023
Date of Publication (online):2023/11/08
Tag:French; German; Wikipedia; climate; contrastive analysis; discourse analysis; environment; neologisms
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Diskursanalyse; Französisch; Klima; Neologismus; kontrastive Lexikologie
First Page:209
Last Page:210
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Lexikologie / Etymologie
Program areas:Lexik
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland