Semantic Gaps Are Dangerous


Semantic gaps are dangerous Language adapts to the environment where it serves as a tool to communication. Language is a social agreement, and we all have to stick to both grammaticalized and non-grammaticalized rules in order to pass information about the world around us. As such language develops and adapts constantely. Recently both media and migrations have accelerated considerably in speed. In Europe and thus in Denmark homogenous populations have developed into multicultural ones; bringing people together with very different religions, new habits and other ways of expressing themselves. Language has not kept pace with this development. From obvious reasons in that millions of people have to adapt to this new situation with lightning speed. That seems not to be possible. We have to use words, metaphors and comparisons containing adverse connotations, and this situation creates ways of using unpolite language and tend to create dangerous relations where specialy language creates problems and trouble that could be avoided if we had better language tools at hand. But we have not these tools of communication, and we are in a situation today where media and specially digital and social media, supported by new possibilities of migration, create dangerous situations. How can we avoid these accidental gaps in language and specially the gaps in semantic and metaphoric tools? Do we have to keep silent and stop discusing certain isues, or do we have other ways to get acces to sufficient language tools to keep debates on the straight and narrow?

Author Information
Michael Ejstrup, Danish School of Media and Journalism, Denmark
Bjarne Le Fevre Jakobsen, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2014
Stream: Broadcast Media & Globalization

This paper is part of the EuroMedia2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon