Language Innovation in the German Migration DiscourseAttila Mészáros
Since 2015 the migration crisis in Europe has posed new political, economic and security challenges in the European Union, particularly for the countries concerned. At the same time, a versatile discourse has emerged which has become visible to the public especially at the level of vocabulary, e.g. in the form of political catchwords as well as multi-word exegesis. These are characteristics of a dynamic discourse, but also signs of continuous linguistic change. This article deals with the problem of linguistic innovation against the background of the current migration crisis. The focus is on the question of how such a complex phenomenon as the refugee crisis is taken up linguistically in public discourse and what sort of changes it initiates. Discourse vocabulary is at the center of attention, because at this level the dynamics of discourse are the most visible. In addition to this, the research interest is devoted to the allusions that appear in the article headings. These are, in fact, creative means of producing new knowledge that also show a special achievement in the context of linguistic innovation in the refugee discourse.
Sprachliche Innovation im deutschen MigrationsdiskursAttila Mészáros
Die seit 2015 andauernde Migrationskrise stellte die Europäische Union, insbesondere die betroffenen Länder vor neue Herausforderungen in Bezug auf die Politik, Wirtschaft und Sicherheit. Parallel damit entstand ein Diskurs, der für die Öffentlichkeit insbesondere auf der Ebene des Wortschatzes u.a. in Form von politischen Schlagwörtern sowie von Mehrwortlexemen sichtbar wird. Beide sind Merkmale einer Diskursdynamik, aber auch Anzeichen eines kontinuierlichen sprachlichen Wandels. Der vorliegende Beitrag geht auf die Problematik der sprachlichen Innovation vor dem Hintergrund der europäischen Migrationskrise ab 2015 ein. Im Mittelpunkt steht die Frage, wie ein so komplexes Phänomen wie die Flüchtlingskrise im öffentlichen Diskurs sprachlich aufgegriffen wird. Im Fokus stehen hier Änderungen im Wortschatz, denn die Diskursdynamik ist gerade auf dieser Ebene am besten sichtbar. Darüber hinaus wird das Forschungsinteresse den Anspielungen gewidmet, die in den Artikelüberschriften vorkommen. Diese zeichnen sich nämlich als kreative Mittel zum Schaffen vom neuen Wissen, die auch im Kontext der sprachlichen Innovation im Flüchtlingsdiskurs eine besondere Leistung aufzeigen.
Since 2015 the migration crisis in Europe has posed new political, economic and security challenges for the European Union, particularly for the countries concerned. At the same time, a versatile discourse has emerged which has become visible to the public especially at the level of vocabulary, e.g. in the form of political catchwords as well as multi-word exegeses. These are characteristics of a dynamic discourse, but also signs of continuous linguistic change. This article deals with the problem of linguistic innovation against the background of the current migration crisis. The focus is on the question of how such a complex phenomenon as the refugee crisis is taken up linguistically in public discourse and what sort of changes it initiates. Empirical analyses are based on corpus containing texts from the ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ and the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ from 01/01/2015 to 28/02/2016. These newspaper articles come from the field of politics and include reports, short news items and reportages. After a brief discussion of the topic and the concept specification of discourse for the purposes of contribution, the theoretical part deals with the connection between issues and changes in society and their reflections in the discourse. In this context, the concepts “upheaval” and “innovation” are clarified. Subsequently, the question of which factors are to be considered in the treatment of linguistic innovation against the background of the refugee discourse is dealt with in detail. Although migration and immigration have been the subject of semantic analysis within German linguistics since the 1990s at the latest (see Niehr & Böke 2000), the refugee debate discussed here takes place in a fundamentally different environment, with aspects such as politics, economics, security, culture and religion being addressed in a particularly diverse way in public discourse. At both transnational (EU) and national level (Germany, Austria, etc.) attempts to cope with the refugee crisis within a regulated framework have resulted in a series of short-term and long-term solutions and at the same time in a polyphony of discourse. This is based on pre-discursive concepts, the so-called topoi (see Wengeler 2003) which at the same time, fundamentally determine the world view and the perception of the respective society. The starting point for the empirical analysis is the so-called discourse-analytical multi-level model by Spitzmüller and Warnke (2011). This is a research program that provides the linguist with an inventory of procedures for analysing discourse at the levels of intertextual and transtextual relations as well as discourse actors. The research interest here is on the lexical level, with other aspects of the discourse not being dealt with here. The empirical analysis refers to two areas: new formations in the discourse vocabulary and allusions that appear in article headings. Traces of linguistic innovation can be found in both areas. Regarding the vocabulary, composites are of primary importance here. The lexemes “asylum” and “refugee” prove to be particularly fruitful, both as determinants and as basic words. However, some of the composites identified must be regarded as ad hoc formations, whose status can only be assessed over a longer period of time, i.e. from a diachronic perspective. For this reason, they are initially regarded as markers of short-term linguistic innovation, but not of longterm linguistic change. Allusions are means of creating interaction between author and reader, producing new knowledge in a creative and innovative way. Their functional principle is explained here using the example of the world-famous statement by the Federal Chancellor Wir schaffen das. The individual variations make it clear that even minimal changes in the original expression open new dimensions and enable the expression of different attitudes. The moment of linguistic innovation is particularly great here as the connection between the familiar and the new is unexpectedly established. The successful decoding of the message requires a certain level of education on the part of the reader, whereby this “playful” nature of allusions also create a space for the respective author to express himself on topics that are classified as ”hot” in society. The refugee discourse is considered as a particularly sensitive topic which is taken up quite differently by public language usage in individual areas. The linguistic innovation described here is based on some empirical examples and therefore regarded on the one hand as a symptom of the dynamics at the lexical level, insofar as the high number of new formations reflects a rapidly changing political-public climate. On the other hand, references can be treated as means of expressing different opinions and positions, rather than expressing them in a coded message.