A paper by Anastasia Smirnova just appeared in the Journal of Language and Politics. This paper is a good example of how Anastasia combines her interests in formal grammatical analysis with her interests in language ideology and media. Anastasia analyzes the language practices of the mass media in communist and post-communist Bulgaria, showing that the regime change corresponds with several changes in the linguistic properties of language used in the mass media. The full bibliographic information of the paper, including an abstract, is given below.
This paper compares and analyzes mass media language in Bulgaria before and after the breakdown of the communist regime with the goal to reveal the effect of political setting, communist vs. democratic, on the form of public discourse in the media. The comparison reveals statistically significant differences in the types of grammatical constructions used in the communist and democratic media (active vs. passive), as well as differences in grammatical properties of nouns (animacy, concreteness, and properness) and verbs (tense and evidentiality).I propose that the observed differences are best explained within a sociocognitive model of context proposed by van Dijk (2008). From this perspective, linguistic characteristics of the democratic and communist discourse examined in the paper reflect speakers’ shared beliefs about the system of social meanings and fundamental principles of their respective societies, such as humanism vs. institutionalism, individualism vs. collectivism, and the differences in the perception of time.