This article investigates some main characteristics of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks, a new popularizing genre. In particular, it examines the process that recontextualizes scientific speeches into TED talks presented by their own authors, using several discursive conventions to negotiate their role as experts and to establish a closer relationship with their audience. Through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the 2012 TED talks, the article will draw upon Hyland’s concept of ‘proximity’, and the five elements that he takes into account when illustrating proximity in popularizing texts: organization, argument structure, credibility, stance and reader engagement. It will be observed that the linguistic techniques used to enhance comprehensibility, the use of evaluative and emotive adjectives, the direct involvement of the audience through the use of inclusive pronouns help the speaker breach the expert/ audience barrier, establishing an ‘alignment’. Rather than focusing on proximity of membership, these talks emphasize proximity of commitment, by not concentrating on the speakers’ identity and reputation but rather on how they are personally involved in the topic of the speech. These techniques reveal TED’s idea that science should be ideas to be discussed rather than information to be passively received.

The role of proximity in online popularizations: The case of TED talks

Scotto di Carlo, G.
2014

Abstract

This article investigates some main characteristics of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks, a new popularizing genre. In particular, it examines the process that recontextualizes scientific speeches into TED talks presented by their own authors, using several discursive conventions to negotiate their role as experts and to establish a closer relationship with their audience. Through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the 2012 TED talks, the article will draw upon Hyland’s concept of ‘proximity’, and the five elements that he takes into account when illustrating proximity in popularizing texts: organization, argument structure, credibility, stance and reader engagement. It will be observed that the linguistic techniques used to enhance comprehensibility, the use of evaluative and emotive adjectives, the direct involvement of the audience through the use of inclusive pronouns help the speaker breach the expert/ audience barrier, establishing an ‘alignment’. Rather than focusing on proximity of membership, these talks emphasize proximity of commitment, by not concentrating on the speakers’ identity and reputation but rather on how they are personally involved in the topic of the speech. These techniques reveal TED’s idea that science should be ideas to be discussed rather than information to be passively received.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11574/203446
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