Prof. Anna Zanfei's Research Project (2018-2020)
Title: The linguistic complexity of English for international marketing, commerce and tourism
Descriptive summary of the project in the language of the publication:
This research project will last 30 months and it is about the linguistic complexity of English for international marketing, commerce and tourism.
The results of a bibliographical search about English for international marketing and its linguistic complexity highlight a lack of scientific publications specifically dedicated to this subject. Moreover, while there is a good amount of publications dedicated to English for international tourism, they are mostly related to off-line travel guides, promotional leaflets, and first generation web 1.0 on-line websites.
English for international marketing is taught from a language-learning perspective and as one of the topics of non-theoretical, English-for-Marketing courses. These courses are based on practicing the skills of speaking and understanding and the teaching material focuses on vocabulary exercises, reading and listening comprehension.
This is a good generic language learning practice but it does not investigate the linguistic complexity of discourses, concordances, semantic relations, and interpersonal meaning of the English language used in both on-line and off-line international marketing practices. Therefore, it is necessary to gather what appears to be a fragmented empirical knowledge and convey that information into a solid, theoretical field of research.
The appropriate field of research is English for Specific Purposes (ESP) because it studies the difference between generic Business English (BE) and International Business English (IBE) as non-generic, specialized English.
ESP is a quite complex field because it is based on various theories and methodologies; nonetheless the research about English for International Marketing should be comprehensive of at least some methodologies used in ESP.
Firstly, a morphological analysis of texts and discourse should be very productive, as, for example, the use of verbing, nominalization, compounds, blends, initialisms and acronyms.
Secondly, the methodology of corpus linguistics should be productive for investigating both specific concordancesthe (for example verb-noun, verb-adjective) and the use of British and American vocabulary.
Thirdly, this research should consider multimodality as part of the stylistics of marketing-related texts, the study of pragmatics (Gricean principles) in international, cross-cultural, promotional communication and the study of language registers and metaphors typically used in the specialized press. The variety of linguistic registers, the use of metaphors and interdiscursivity in the specialized press is also an issue that could be of interest in translation studies.
Finally, functionalism should be the correct approach to analyze the interpersonal metafunction in on-line marketing and the textual metafunction in the analysis of genres (with reference to Bathia), the use of the three levels of interdiscursivity and intertextuality in BE but also in online reviews, travelogues, blogs and miniblogs (e.g. Twitter).
Sentiment analysis is another field that should inform this research because it investigates semantic relations and particularly gradable antonyms, non-gradable opposites such as conversions and binary opposites, but also synonyms, context-dependent synonyms and derived adverbs. The methodologies used by sentiment analysis will be used with reference to the sematic relations of adjectives and adverbs used with high frequency in the topics and discourses of international marketing and those semantic relations that are not contemplated by dictionaries, even specialized ones.
Summarizing, this research starts from a general examination of English linguistics and the tools that allow to analyze promotional English in the international marketing contexts. Then it considers the context of web 2.0 virtual interactions that involve the intertextuality and interdiscursivity in social media as well as in the specialized press. Thus, both off-line and on-line contexts of international marketing will be considered from the perspective of structuralism, functionalism, ESP, genres analysis, sentiment analysis, stylistics, multimodality, corpus linguistics (concordances), lexical semantics (semantic relations), discourse analysis, and pragmatics.
Fondi per il progetto ex 60 % Zanfei EUR 2600