Publication details [#3448]

Chilton, Paul. 2002. Do something! Conceptualising responses to the attacks of 11 September 2001. Journal of Language and Politics 1 (1) : 181–195. 15 pp.


The role and responsibility of linguists and discourse analysts in the wake of the 11 Sep 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon is addressed by examining the contexts being constructed to make sense of discourse and noting the prevalence of metonymic thinking on all sides. A context in which global penetration by American culture is perceived as tantamount to a military threat has been constructed by the attackers, for whom the attack on particular instances of American military and economic power stands metonymically for an attack on the whole; Americans in response activate pre-wired contexts that also involve metonymic and metaphorical patterns of discourse and thought, including analogies of war, WW2, polarization, revenge, police and outlaws, and the legitimation of targeting (eg, a metonymic mapping of the notion of perpetrator onto that of persons harboring the perpetrator). (J. Hitchcock in LLBA 2003, vol. 37, n. 3)