Treading lightly on the Earth. Metaphorical frames in the discourse of ecotourism

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The present contribution aims to analyse the underlying metaphorical conceptualizations which frame the discourse of ecotourism and their similar or different surface realisations across languages and cultures (American English, British English and Italian). It addresses the issue of ideological categories construed by the discourse of ecotourism to promote its message in order to “persuade potential customers into becoming actual clients by addressing their cultural needs and personal motivations to travel” (Edwards and Curado 2003: 26). Ideology, in this work, relies on van Dijk’s (1998: 9) conceptualization as ‘social cognition’, namely a system of values, beliefs, thoughts shared by members of groups, which support their interests socially and organize their social representations cognitively. This implies that certain lexical items (e.g. travel*, holiday*, walk*, environment) can trigger metaphorical mappings.The data were gathered from an ad hoc comparable corpus of British English and Italian official ecotourism websites. Methodologically this research combines quantitative and qualitative analysis involving a number of steps. The analysis is quantitative when assessing the significance of some words on the basis of frequency criteria or when looking at collocational profiles statistically produced by the software. It is also qualitative in that it takes into account some aspects of language that, though not at the top of the numerical list, provide relevant linguistic insights. Many conceptual metaphors provide the structure for a systematized ideology of the ecotourist experience, which requires an extension of the notion of the tourist gaze to include other embodied and emotional aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTourism and tourist promotion around the world: a linguistic and socio-cultural perspective
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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