Colloquial Lexical Means of Otherization: A Case Study

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Danko SIPKA, Arizona State University, USA
Colloquial Lexical Means of Otherization: A case study

Following a cognitive linguistic methodological framework (as outlined among others in Geeraerts et al. 2010), the author establishes a taxonomy of lexical means of otherization found in a case study of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian colloquial discourse.

The first step of the present analysis comprised the extraction of overt lexical means of otherization (e.g., derogatory names for ethnic groups, sexual minorities, etc.), from a 25,000-entry colloquial Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian dictionary (Šipka, 2000). The next step involved quantitative and qualitative investigation of their functioning in web corpora generated by advanced Google search. Ethnic, religious, regional, gender, profession-based, and lifestyle-based means of otherization were taken into consideration. Their discourse context and impact was analyzed. The discourse part of analysis was partially inspired by Critical Discourse Analysis (most notably Van Dijk, 2009). The final step of the present investigation relied on bottom-up metadata gathering to build a taxonomy of means of otherization based on this Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian case study. The following taxonomic nodes were identified: a. domain, b. range of application, c. form, d. intensity, e. directionality, f. reactiveness.

The idea behind the taxonomy is that recognizing the types of otherization can be a useful tool in the attempts to replace hatred speech with more respectful forms of public discourse in still highly combustive Southeastern Europe. Additionally, a taxonomy based on one case study can be a first step toward building a more elaborate taxonomy of overt lexical means of otherization based on other languages.


Geeraerts, Dirk, Gitte Kristiansen, and Yves Peirsman 2010. Cognitive Linguistics Research : Advances in Cognitive Sociolinguistics, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter

Šipka, Danko (2000) SerboCroatian-English Colloquial Dictionary, Springfield: Dunwoody Press

Van Dijk, Teun (2009) Critical Discourse Studies; A sociocognitive Approach
In Ruth Wodak & Michael Meyer (Eds.), Methods of critical discourse analysis. (pp. 62-85). London: Sage.