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Communicating tourism: language and media

This dissertation is entitled “Communicating tourism: language and media” and it aims, at exploring “the largest industry in the world”, as Graham Dann defines tourism, by analysing the language and the resources used to communicate and promote tourist destinations.
This work is both theoretical and empirical. In the first part, the theoretical one, the emphasis is placed firstly on the language of tourism, which is a specialised discourse per se because although specific terminology occurs and tourist text genres have distinctive parameters, it can be applied to a wide range of disciplines and it uses a great number of General English words. Furthermore, the language of tourism aims not only at describing places, but also at persuading people so as to convert them from potential into actual tourists.
The language of tourism has particular lexical features: specific terminology, monoreferentiality, conciseness, emotional neutrality, key words and languaging.
Morphosyntactic aspects are nominalization, passive forms, modal verbs, superlatives, simple present, imperative, non-finite clauses and pronouns.
Finally, verbal techniques of the language of tourism are: comparison, key words and keying, testimony, humour, languaging and ego-targeting.
Secondly, the focus of attention is on the promotion of tourism, which is very important, because it fosters communication between the tourism industry and the potential tourist. The “tourism promotion mix” comprises the strategies used to promote a tourist product. Furthermore, the language used in tourism promotion becomes a language of social control, especially when itineraries or attractions are suggested.
The communicative strategies of the language of tourism can be divided into three groups. The first group includes the strategies meant to identify the kind of tourist, the second group refers to the use of specific text genres, whereas the third group is related to the presence of culture-specific terms in tourist texts.
Moreover, the media of tourism can be classified according to several methods. Traditionally a marketing approach was followed, but in 1996 Dann suggested a new method, based both on the division of the tourism experience into stages and on the medium employed. Tourism text genres are hybrid genres, because some features of a publication are noticeable also in other text types; nevertheless, some parameters are useful to distinguish the various genres.
Furthermore, the definition of the context of situation given by Halliday is applied to tourist publications. As regards the field, tourist publications describe and promote places, thus having both and informative and an exhortative function, and they have a changeable validity; concerning the tenor, tourist-information texts are reader-oriented and, apart from guidebooks, the sender is usually represented by the institution on behalf of which the text is written. Moreover, the style is colloquial and the language is easy to understand. As for the mode, tourist publications are characterised by multimodality, that is the inclusion of pictures and photos in written texts. Note that all these features vary according to the text genre. Finally, a description of the most common tourist publications is provided to close the chapter.
The second part of my dissertation can be defined as “empirical”, because it is a case study of the materials used to promote the world-famous Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. This analysis was useful to see a concrete example of how the language of tourism is employed. I examined the audioguide tracks, the brochures, the official website and some guidebooks carefully, trying to find and understand the linguistic devices employed. Then, I compared the English and Italian versions and I discovered that there are a large number of similarities at a content level, not only because the Italian and English versions always have the same degree of completeness, according to the text genre, of course but also because, apart from the two guidebooks published in England, the translation from Italian to English is fairly literal.
In addition to this, Italian and English media are also very similar at a linguistic level, because more or less the same lexical features, especially specific terminology and languaging, morphosyntactic aspects, in particular modal verbs, superlatives, and pronouns, as well as typical verbal techniques, mainly comparison, languaging and ego-targeting, are employed.
Finally, as regards the context of situation, it is almost the same in every publication: the subject matter is the description of the Scrovegni Chapel, the aim is both informative and persuasive, the audience includes the potential or actual visitors of the Chapel and the sender is always represented by an institution, except for the guidebooks. Moreover, the channel is visual, due to the presence of photographs and pictures, whereas the medium is written, apart from the audioguide tracks.

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Introduction 1 INTRODUCTION “The business of providing things for people to do, places for them to stay, etc. while they are on holiday” (2003: 1757). This is the definition of tourism provided by the LONGMAN Dictionary of Contemporary English. One might observe that this statement describes only one side, the one dominated by tour operators and other professionals, such as travel agents, tourism managers, the staff of a holiday resort, etc., i.e. all those people and companies who are in charge of help and take care of travellers and tourists. The side of tourism “purchasers”, which is not mentioned in the opening quotation, is represented by those people, alias the tourists, who move to destinations for pleasure, in general. An exhaustive definition of this side of tourism is given by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and available on its website: “the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business or other purposes.” Therefore, according to the UNWTO there are at least three kinds of tourism: leisure tourism, business tourism, and personal tourism, which are well known and established types of tourism, whose definitions do not need to be explained. Nevertheless, the evolution of marketing towards a closer relationship with customers, who then become the protagonists of the whole marketing mix, has led to an expansion of tourism and a customization of tourist products, in order to meet every single person‟s requirements. For instance, in the last few years, new types of tourism have been created, such as „ecotourism‟, i.e. a kind of sustainable tourism which includes travels into wildlife sanctuaries where the integrity of nature has been preserved from indiscriminate building, „spa tourism‟, that comprises weekends or weeks in spas or thermae where people go to improve their health and beauty through swing and other beauty treatments, and „wine tourism‟, which refers to people visiting wineries and vineyards in areas renowned for their wine of excellent quality. It can be deduced from its elaborated, twofold definition that tourism is a discipline which covers a wide range of domains, from Economics to Marketing, from Art to Social Studies. As far as these subjects are concerned, tourism has been the subject-matter of several articles, research, meetings and books. However, tourism related to language has been quite recently analysed by some famous scholars and researchers, such as MacCannell (1976), Castello (2002), Cohen and Cooper (2004), Nigro (2006) and Cappelli (2007). They described the language of tourism and above all emphasised the important role it plays in tourism promotion and communication. For instance, Cohen and Cooper (2004) complain of the lack of attention given to the language of tourism, whereas the translation of tourist texts is the focus of attention of the book written by

Laurea liv.I

Facoltà: Lettere e Filosofia

Autore: Giulia Gumiero Contatta »

Composta da 99 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 236 click dal 24/10/2012.


Consultata integralmente 3 volte.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.