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Separated by a common language: how Breitbart and The New York Times produce different meanings from common words

Mor, Federico, Nash, Erin J. and Green, Fergus ORCID: 0000-0001-5317-6016 (2021) Separated by a common language: how Breitbart and The New York Times produce different meanings from common words. Politics. ISSN 0263-3957

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Identification Number: 10.1177/02633957211012959

Abstract

We build on the work by Peled and Bonotti to illuminate the impact of linguistic relativity on democratic debate. Peled and Bonotti’s focus is on multilingual societies, and their worry is that ‘unconscious epistemic effects’ can undermine political reasoning between interlocutors who do not share the same native tongue. Our article makes two contributions. First, we argue that Peled and Bonotti’s concerns about linguistic relativity are just as relevant to monolingual discourse. We use machine learning to provide novel evidence of the linguistic discrepancies between two ideologically distant groups that speak the same language: readers of Breitbart and of The New York Times. We suggest that intralinguistic relativity can be at least as harmful to successful public deliberation and political negotiation as interlinguistic relativity. Second, we endorse the building of metalinguistic awareness to address problematic kinds of linguistic relativity and argue that the method of discourse analysis we use in this article is a good way to build that awareness.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/pol
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2022 14:39
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 01:15
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115681

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