Contrasting specialized discourse and popularizing discourse from a linguistic point of view, we show that the most relevant feature of popularizing discourse is linguistic variation. We illustrate these characteristics with the analysis of Internet forums and chats produced by Spanish language people affected by the HIV, by diet diseases or by the use of drugs. The questions that guide our research are: 1) which semantic
characteristics of scientific concepts can be understood by the public?; and 2) which referring expressions (names) are the most adequate? The results show that: a) discourse linguistic approach provides useful tools to categorize and evaluate science popularization practices, and b) the study of these practices from a linguistic point of view is a necessary requirement to think about the way science is communicated to society and understood by people.

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Science popularization practices from a linguistic point of view

Daniel Cassany   UPF

Carmen López Ferrero   UPF

Contrasting specialized discourse and popularizing discourse from a linguistic point of view, we show that the most relevant feature of popularizing discourse is linguistic variation. We illustrate these characteristics with the analysis of Internet forums and chats produced by Spanish language people affected by the HIV, by diet diseases or by the use of drugs. The questions that guide our research are: 1) which semantic
characteristics of scientific concepts can be understood by the public?; and 2) which referring expressions (names) are the most adequate? The results show that: a) discourse linguistic approach provides useful tools to categorize and evaluate science popularization practices, and b) the study of these practices from a linguistic point of view is a necessary requirement to think about the way science is communicated to society and understood by people.

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