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A Lexical Semantics for Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Boat People in Australian English
Karlstad University. Griffith University.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1056-9607
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies. Griffith University.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1323-1548
2017 (English)In: Australian Journal of Linguistics, ISSN 0726-8602, E-ISSN 1469-2996, Vol. 37, no 4, 389-423 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The terms refugee, asylum seeker and boat people are of particular prominence in the Australian discourse surrounding immigration policy, and are widely used in day-to-day conversation among Australians. Despite their frequency of use, a lexico-semantic study of the terms has not been carried out to date. This paper fills this gap by proposing a semantic analysis of them. The study is based on a corpus created from online comments to the Australian television programme Go Back To Where You Came From (Season 1, SBS 2011). After introducing the data and analytical framework—object-oriented semantics—we discuss the terms’ lexical semantics. While the discussion of immigration issues is emotionally laden, our results suggest that the default semantics of the terms do not include evaluative components. Rather, speakers tend to evaluate the agreed-upon semantic specifications differently depending on their political views. We show how each term represents a specific node in a network of concepts for translocating individuals, but may in context also be applied to neighbouring nodes that lack a lexicalization. While the terms are seemingly used interchangeably, our analysis instead emphasizes the influence of the underlying conceptual structure and the resulting constrained plasticity of nominal meaning in context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017. Vol. 37, no 4, 389-423 p.
Keyword [en]
Object-Orientation, Semantic Plasticity, Lexical Semantics, Forced Migration, Australia
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-64414DOI: 10.1080/07268602.2017.1350130OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-64414DiVA: diva2:1145930
Available from: 2017-10-01 Created: 2017-10-01 Last updated: 2017-10-02Bibliographically approved

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Morrissey, LochlanSchalley, Andrea C.
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Karlstad UniversityDepartment of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf