chapter  10
Changing Discourses of Risk and Health Risk
A Corpus Analysis of the Usage of Risk Language in the New York Times
ByJens O. Zinn, Daniel McDonald
Pages 34

Conceptualisations of language change within linguistics and history have tended to focus more on broader social transformations than on the role played by single events and particular institutional changes. This chapter aims to demonstrate the viability of corpus linguistic methods as a means of empirically observing longitudinal change in risk discourse. It discusses test some key hypotheses in risk research. In particular, J. Skolbekken had indicated a shift towards risk in health in his article about a risk epidemic in medical science journals though not examining to what extent the scientific debates have entered public debates and news media. The chapter outlines the methodological foundations of study, which utilises systemic functional linguistics and frame semantics' conceptualisation of the 'risk frame' as a theoretical framework and practices from corpus and computational linguistics as an approach to data analysis. The New York Times Annotated Corpus was used as the source for all articles published between 1987 and 2006.