Research Aims

The Florence unit examines knowledge dissemination in social media platforms, newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, letters, travel journals and diaries in both a diachronic and synchronic perspective. Within a time frame stretching from the seventeenth century up until the present day the unit carries out research into the role of translation in English periodical news in the 17th century; the contents, language and context of Late Modern print advertising; Late Modern published diaries and letters published in local or national newspapers, in which geographical, scientific and anthropological discoveries are discussed; the dissemination of scientific knowledge through pamphlets and journals in the 19th century; the persisting (or changing) features of news language up until the early 21st century;  US political and institutional language and digital discourse through a framework that combines corpus linguistics, systemic functional linguistics and critical discourse analysis with a socio-semiotic approach to multimodality. The unit’s analyses are both qualitative and quantitative, in an attempt to identify the manner in which knowledge disseminators create and exploite multiple, interdisciplinary and interlinguistic texts and discourses in their aim to inform and/or persuade contemporary readers.


For the seventeenth century we have created the Florence Early English Newspapers corpus, which is hosted at The corpus consists of 256,000 words comprising English corantos and newsbooks from 1620 to 1644.

As regards the language of 18th century newspapers, we have created a corpus of American Newspapers containing articles related to the period before and after the American Revolution from 1764 to 1783 (101.224 words). The corpus informs our understanding of the different discursive representations of the social actors and the Revolution over the two decades.

A corpus of ego documents focusing on 19th century mutinies in colonial India has been created with the purpose of analysing the use of repeated language patterns in crisis discourse whereas a corpus of women’s travel journals has been created to investigate the construal of discursive identity and social representations.

As regards digital discourse, we have created a diachronic qualitatively selected multimodal corpus of Facebook posts from the company profile. The corpus encompasses entries authored by Fb’s CEO and founder over the last five years and is functional to the investigation of the evolution of the corporate image of the social media.