JoLIE 14:2/2021


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Giacomo Ferrari

Università del Piemonte Orientale – Vercelli, Italy






The COVID-19 pandemic not only affected the health of people across the world, but also triggered a multitude of different positions, ideas and conceptualisations that were disseminated via different communication media. This has given rise to an overabundance of communication, often referred to as an infodemic. The result has been the inception of a number of different (political) positions that resorted to different stories and storytelling techniques. These included traditional metaphors used with a different meaning, new narrative techniques and new terminology. The variety of stories contributed to the creation of a system of conceptualisations which, conversely, generated new linguistic forms, thus creating a type of circle of linguistic and cognitive innovation. The new conceptual systems can be represented as a system of frames à la Fillmore (1985) and are the basis for of an autonomous cultural perspective. In the light of this assumption, some aspects of this overwhelming wave of information are analysed, without any possibility of being exhaustive, bearing in mind that the pandemic is not yet over. An important phenomenon that can be already observed is the globalisation of stories, myths and language. Stories and words that originated in one country are transferred immediately to other countries, at least within a given area, the one with advanced capitalism. This is probably due not only to the vast use of social media, but also to a common culture that makes certain given conceptualisations acceptable by the societies involved. This is a good example of cultural globalisation.


Keywords: Pandemic; Storytelling; Metaphors; Neologism; Globalisation.





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How to cite this article: Ferrari, G. (2021). Languages for a pandemic: The case of COVID-19. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 14(2), 19-42. doi:



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