This chapter takes a view of conspiracy theorising as a discourse type and seeks to identify candidate linguistic features of such discourse in a corpus of books devoted to 9/11 conspiracy theories. Adopting a corpus-driven approach, the study identifies three discursive traits which appear prominent in conspiracy discourse. The first trait concerns a high incidence of metadiscursive references to terms such as report, version and story, which are associated with negatively evaluative verbs (for example, claim) when premodified by the adjective official, and tend to co-occur with verbs such as emerge when referring to conspiracy theorists’ preferred versions. The second regards the frequent recourse to terms such as evidence (lack of which characterizes official stories) and facts (typically posited to be at the heart of conspiratorial versions). Finally, the study identifies the salience of hypothetical structures, signalled by the recurrent use of the modal would, which question official accounts using a modus tollens form of confutational argumentation.

A corpus-driven exploration of conspiracy theorising as a discourse type : Lexical indicators of argumentative patterning / P. Catenaccio - In: Conspiracy Theory Discourses / [a cura di] M. Demata, V. Zorzi, A. Zottola. - Amsterdam : John Benjamins, 2022. - ISBN 9789027212702. - pp. 25-48 [10.1075/dapsac.98.02cat]

A corpus-driven exploration of conspiracy theorising as a discourse type : Lexical indicators of argumentative patterning

P. Catenaccio
2022

Abstract

This chapter takes a view of conspiracy theorising as a discourse type and seeks to identify candidate linguistic features of such discourse in a corpus of books devoted to 9/11 conspiracy theories. Adopting a corpus-driven approach, the study identifies three discursive traits which appear prominent in conspiracy discourse. The first trait concerns a high incidence of metadiscursive references to terms such as report, version and story, which are associated with negatively evaluative verbs (for example, claim) when premodified by the adjective official, and tend to co-occur with verbs such as emerge when referring to conspiracy theorists’ preferred versions. The second regards the frequent recourse to terms such as evidence (lack of which characterizes official stories) and facts (typically posited to be at the heart of conspiratorial versions). Finally, the study identifies the salience of hypothetical structures, signalled by the recurrent use of the modal would, which question official accounts using a modus tollens form of confutational argumentation.
Conspiracy theorising; discourse analysis; corpus linguistics; lexical indicators; argumentative patterning
Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/951579
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