Четверг, 25 апреляИнститут «Высшая школа журналистики и массовых коммуникаций» СПбГУ


The conference “Language and media. Linguistic and communicative phenomena in the contemporary media” took place at the Pedagogical University of Kraków on 5th and 6th March 2015. It was organised by scholars affiliated with the Institute of Polish Philology, led by Professor Bogusław Skowronek. Due to the importance of issues discussed, the conference was attended by researchers from various fields, e. g. linguists, communication studies specialists, political studies specialists, journalists or sociologists. All of them were united by a common idea: a reflection over the current state of language in the media and an attempt to highlight its most characteristic realisations. The participants looked at verbal media communication from many perspectives, each of them selected different material to be analysed and thanks to their approach it was possible to present various, multifaceted ways of functioning of language in the media. 

The conference was attended by scholars from all over the country, from 27 research centres, among them the most important Polish universities: the Universities of Warsaw, Łódź, Opole, Gdańsk, Silesia, the Jagiellonian University, the host university, the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, as well as from the Rzeszów University of Technology and the University of Economics in Katowice. Foreign guests arrived as well: the Russian Federation was represented by Professor Elena Stanislavovna Kara-Murza from the Lomonosow University in Moscow. Other Russian scholars announced their arrival as well, but due to various reasons they could not come. 75 papers were delivered, both newly qualified and experienced scholars spoke. On the first day, plenary session took place, during which the most important texts were presented. On the second day, discussions were held in 5 thematic sections. Groups of students were listening attentively to every speech. Discussions taking place after each paper were a very important part of the conference. It was often the case that this lively exchange of thoughts was the most valuable part of a given part of a session. 

Scientific reflection during the conference comprised two main spheres: the sphere of comprehensive observation of media discourse: what it is, what its main characteristics are and how to examine it; and the sphere of particular linguistic media discourses: of press, film television, and of the Internet. Texts on the second sphere (presented mostly during the second day of the conference) were predominantly analyses of specific media messages so they had a firm empirical base. 

In the sphere of observation of media discourse, enumerating its characteristics and the methodology of research, one can place 14 papers, all delivered during the plenary session on the first day of the conference. Walery Pisarek, the initiator of Polish research on the language in media, discussed the problem of ambiguous terminology of the discipline. He explained the semantic value of such notions as “language of the media” and “language in the media” (he preferred the latter) and pondered upon general features of media discourse (also on the historical background). Małgorzata Kita also tried to define media discourse but in her paper she emphasised its communicative and genological features. He paper was mostly devoted to the relationship between language and technology and to changes to culture and human identity resulting from the aforementioned relationship. Ryszard Tokarski’s speech was predominantly semantic and ethnolinguistic in character. He returned to the notion of the “linguistic image of the world”, noticing its generality and inadequacy in relation to the media images of the world. Professor Tokarski said that one should speak only about individual, textual images of the world functioning in particular messages. According to him, each of the images possesses its own pragmatic characteristics. Danuta Kępa-Figura’s paper was mostly pragmalinguistic and theoretical. She talked about the illocutionary force of each type of illocution that appears in media communication. She provided several examples from the press discourse: informative articles and columns. Barbara Bogołębska discussed the problem of stylistic variety of thematically varied utterances of journalists, which also form the linguistic discourse of the press. The discourse of the press was also the basis of Jolanta Maćkiewicz’s paper on multimodality in media communication. Her paper concentrated mostly on forms of functioning of different semiotic systems in the press, their mutual relationships and methodology of research. Iwona Loewe, in turn, turned her attention to linguistic discourse of television. Having discussed the characteristics (also the linguistic ones) of the television discourse, she focused on one of television genres – quiz shows. She defined them, described their place in television stream and she specified them genologically and stylistically. Tadeusz Miczka talked about new media, especially computer games. The topic of his reflection were linguistic traits of these media, (especially jargon used by gamers), their specificity, importance and place in modern culture, also in its consumerist part. Dorota Konieczna also devoted her speech to new media. She discussed linguistic specificity of blogs and their rhetorical construction and ability to use appropriate argumentation. Agnieszka Ogonowska’s paper was psychological in character. In the introduction, she noticed that psychological approach was almost absent in media studies research. Then, she concentrated on film discourse and said that cognitive activation of a viewer was the most important thing in the reception of a film. According to the author ,it is essential to combine the psychological and media studies approach in media studies research as it makes it possible to show how people process media information and what use they make of them. The paper delivered by Professor Elena Kara-Murza from the Lomonosow University of Moscow focused on the problem of critical analysis of media discourse. She used the example of commercial advertisements to illustrate her point. The Russian scholar presented main features of this method and thanks to appropriate and interesting examples, proved how methodologically and scientifically effective it is in analyses. Katarzyna and Jacek Wasilewscy also presented the critical approach, yet they concentrated on the discourse of the press. Using their empirical studies, they showed how the cognitive approach and attitude of readers towards particular religious groups changes through evaluation “hidden” journalists’ texts. The first day of the conference was concluded by Renata Piasecka-Strzelec who discussed the status of official information agencies and highlighted their still existent media and social role in media communication, despite the existence of social media. 

During the second day of the conference, in each of thematic sections, one could find papers that discussed a particular problem “pointwise”. In spite of thematic variety, numerous methodological approaches and research examples, it is possible to pinpoint spheres connecting particular speeches. Many of them were devoted to the redefinition of classic forms of linguistic expression and the expansion of media communication. Among other things explored were the status of language in contemporary culture, the culture of language, linguistic correctness and systems of language: phraseological, lexical and syntactical. Some participants talked about different types of Web communication. The topic of their multifaceted reflection were Internet genres, Web platforms, forms of making contact, language of e‑mails, Internet communities, several types of portals and their typical forms of communication, and verbal aggression in the Web. Categories of advertisements (both social and commercial), phenomena in Public Relations and in marketing were also studied. Researchers presented the place of the advertisements in media discourse and their verbal and iconic realisations. A separate section was devoted to the Russian media discourse. Polish scholars examined the language and style of Russian social advertisements (based on chosen examples) and the way of creating the image of a woman in Russian television series. Important texts were also those on linguistic means of creating media images of the world (particular visions of reality) in various messages located in specific media discourses, especially in the discourse of film, the press and of the Internet. One of the most important facts of which the scholars reminded was that the media discourse is heavily influenced by numerous external contexts: gender, social, political and economic. An important part of each panel during the second day was an animated discussion (sometimes very much so) on presented papers. 

Is it possible to present a coherent, comprehensive picture of language in the media on the basis of all the papers delivered during the Kraków conference “Language and media”? No, because such picture is actually impossible to present. Speeches only reaffirmed the assumption that media discourse is immune to unequivocal descriptions and evaluations. It requires varied, transdisciplinary methodological background and variously oriented research. Polymorphism of media communication, syncretism of forms, multitude of different verbal realisations and constant development of the media make the formulation of conclusive media studies reflection impossible. On the other hand, which is important in the context of next conferences on the topic, they also inspire further research within this sub-discipline in Poland, Russia and in other countries. 

© Skowronek B., 2015