Edited by Pascal Fischer and Christoph Schubert
[Journal of Language and Politics 13:2] 2014
► pp. 336–363
Denotational boundary disputes in political discourse
‘Defining the definition of marriage’
The cognitive semantic analysis of denotational incongruencies by means of comparative investigations of structural field patterns (cf. Jäkel 2001, 2003, 2010) can also be put to use in the investigation of certain kinds of contested concepts (Lakoff 1993), namely cases in which the field patterns themselves are under dispute. The case to be analysed is that of marriage, a cultural concept that has recently come under dispute in the socio-political discourse of Western countries. Competing cultural models (cf. Lakoff 1987) to be compared in this context include the traditional/conservative model as well as different versions of a more tolerant model and a liberal/progressive model. The analysis will focus on authentic language data from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Germany, supplemented by a diachronic comparison of dictionary definitions as well as the results of a survey done with young German informants.