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Linguistic neuroses, verbal bacteria and the survival of the fittest: Health and body metaphors in Russian media discussions about foreignisms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage and Communication
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


This article examines health metaphors used in statements about anglicisms in the Russian print media. Analysis of these metaphors, which constitute a major part of metaphorical conceptions of language change and maintenance, can give insights into the reigning language ideologies and unpick how seemingly uncontroversial statements about language are instrumentalised for nation-building concerns. The article shows that health metaphor scenarios in Russian media metadiscourse (talk about talk) are used to argue for or against permitting the use of anglicisms, but in either case speakers are cast in a passive role, whereas the Russian language itself is portrayed as an autonomous entity that must be respected by following norms of linguistic behaviour. Perceived unsanctioned linguistic creativity is put on a par with serious illness for which strong and potentially discriminative linguistic policy measures are wholly justified.

    Research areas

  • discourse, language

ID: 30876403