The aim of the Roma Tre research group is to investigate the processes of variation and change in the lexicon of contemporary English across varieties, genres, media and registers. Special attention will be paid to how different contexts of use affect and ‘constrain’ the behaviour and semantics/pragmatics of lexical items. The main areas of study are the following:
- the alternation of Anglo-Saxon and Latinate vocabulary and the role played by lexical synonymy in both written and oral discourse; this aspect will be investigated from a theoretical and cognitively oriented perspective in order to identify the semantic relations holding between words that appear to have the same meaning and to understand what motivates their alternation in the same discourse context.
- the features of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) and how negotiation and accommodation strategies in spontaneous and semi-spontaneous oral interactions determine lexical variation and change in English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) contexts.
- the processes of ‘authentication’ of the English lexicon by ELF users who appropriate the language according to specific pragma-linguistic goals and communicative purposes.
- phenomena of lexical creativity, linguistic interference and semantic change in various ELF contexts, e.g. the fashion world.
- variation in gender- and sex-related lexicon across modalities and text types from a linguistic and translational perspective.
- variation in the lexicon of fabricated orality of audio-visual texts.
The research project is based on the analysis of authentic data collected from different sources and on already existing corpora, in order to show how the use of the lexicon in contemporary English undergoes a constant process of adaptation and restructuring to cater for specific linguistic/communicative needs in different situations.