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Reference:

Representation of the Green Color in Journalistic Texts by English and German Nouns and Verbs

Boyarkina Anastasiya Andreevna

Educator, Department of Foreign and Russian Languages, Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy

105064, Russia, Moscow, Maly Kazenny Lane, 5B

nastasya.boyarkina@yandex.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8698.2023.4.39149

EDN:

YGFVYW

Review date:

11-11-2022


Publish date:

04-05-2023


Abstract: The purpose of the proposed work is to identify similarities and differences in the manifestation of green symbolism in English and German journalistic texts, the sources of which were online media. The subject of the study is the semantics of English and German nouns and verbs representing the green color in the compared languages. The symbolism of this color designation was chosen due to its insufficient study in the framework of comparative linguistics. In this article, based on the material of lexicographic sources, the dictionary meanings of these lexemes are determined, which can display the symbolism of the studied color in journalistic texts in English and German. The scientific novelty of this study is that for the first time it establishes similarities and differences in the transmission of green symbolism through nouns and verbs on the material of modern English and German journalistic texts. It was found that in English texts, in comparison with German texts, a greater number of nouns denoting green are used. In the course of the study, the comparative method, the method of semantic analysis, the modeling method, the quantitative method and the method of component analysis were used. As a result of the conducted research, it was revealed that in English journalistic texts, the symbolism of the green color, represented by nouns and verbs, is used to neutralize the green color of objects of material reality. In addition, the green color is able to display the positive symbolism of the permission of the requested action, environmental protection. In German journalistic texts, the symbolism of the green color can be both positive and negative. Basically, there is a positive symbolism of green when it comes to environmental protection. The symbolism can also be negative when the political activity of the Green Party in Germany is sharply criticized.


Keywords:

colour symbolism, colour names, journalistic text, noun, verb, English, German, comparative analysis, linguoculture, mass media

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

The journalistic text has common features with the artistic style of speech. The purpose of these texts is not only to inform the reader about the events that have occurred, but also to cause him certain emotions from the transmitted message; in addition to the informational function, the influencing function or the persuasion function is important. For pragmatic purposes, the authors of media texts use expressive means, such as epithets, comparisons, metaphors, idiomatic expressions and various symbols [6]. One of the last means is, among other things, the color symbol. Color as such is very associative, its perception causes certain emotions in the addressee of the text [3]. Associations are considered by linguists as a connotative element of the lexical meaning of words. The role of associations was considered in detail by psycholinguists, associative dictionaries were created [2]. In many cases, semantic connection and interrelationships of perceptual characteristics of objects of the surrounding world relevant to human perception can be traced with color meanings [5]. The purpose of the article is to clarify the similarities and differences in the expression of green symbolism by means of nouns and verbs in English and German journalistic texts. This goal was achieved by solving the following tasks:

  1. To establish a list of nouns and verbs of the English language that convey green by their meaning; to find out the expression of green symbolism by means of nouns and verbs in English journalistic texts, to highlight positive and negative symbolism;
  2. To determine the possibilities of expressing positive and negative green symbols by means of nouns and verbs in German journalistic texts of our days;
  3. To compare the possibilities of expressing the symbolism of green in English and German journalistic texts, where the mentioned nouns and verbs find their application.

The material for the study was articles from the English online newspapers The Guardian and The Telegraph, the German online magazine Spiegel Online for 2007-2022. The following methods were used in the course of the study: comparative method, semantic analysis method, modeling method, quantitative method and component analysis method.

It is advisable to analyze the works devoted to the study of color meanings in journalistic texts. I would like to note the fact that we found a small number of such works in the comparative plan. But there are linguistic studies based on the material of one language [1, 4, 7, 8].

Hence, a comparative study of the lexical representation of green symbolism in English and German journalistic texts of the XXI century is of unconditional scientific interest [11].

Let us turn to the semantic analysis of examples of the use of nouns and verbs formed from the adjective green in English journalistic texts. The noun green, according to explanatory dictionaries, has the following meanings:

  1. the color of grass, foliage,
  2. greens (including vegetables),
  3. territory with green spaces,
  4. the area covered with grass on the golf course,
  5. belonging to the Green Party [9].

In modern journalistic texts in English, this noun conveys the dictionary meaning of "the color of greenery". For example:

Kermit green has gone mainstream heres how to wear it in a chic wayThis modern, bold hue can work for every signature style and budget

Kermit the Frog-esque green has been gaining traction for some months now.

His forest-green-meets-emerald shade has long made for a paintbox bright hue that you cant miss....[12].

In this case, the mentioned token expresses the meaning of "green color" of saturated shades, like the color of Kermit the frog, a famous character from the Muppet Show dolls created by American puppeteer Jim Henson. In this text, we are talking about a fashionable trend in the style of clothing of the specified color.

The noun greens is used quite often in English journalistic texts. It has the following dictionary meaning:

- belonging to the Green Party. For example:

Scottish Greens willing to have conversation on coalition with SNPCo-leader says party can make a difference as it unveils manifesto with plan for 100,000 new jobs.

The Scottish Greens would be willing to have the conversation about a formal coalition with the SNP, their co-leader Patrick Harvie has suggested, as the party set out detailed plans for a green economic recovery from the pandemic which it believes would create at least 100,000 jobs and ensure that those who can best afford it contribute most.

[13].

As the example shows, the analyzed lexeme in the plural conveys the meaning, as indicated above, for the nomination of the Green Party, which, temporarily entering into a coalition with the Scottish National Party, puts forward its own vision of the possibilities of ecological economic recovery after the pandemic.

The noun greenery, formed from the adjective green, can also be used in English journalistic texts. This noun has the following list of dictionary meanings:

- greens,

- green spaces [9].

Let's turn to the analysis of examples.

Moscow to put the greenery back into its Garden RingThree thousand trees to be planted along 10-mile road that encircles centre of Russian capital as part of regeneration drive

Visitors to Moscow could be forgiven for thinking that the citys Garden Ring was named as something of a joke.

The road, which is 16 lanes wide in parts and encircles the very centre of Moscow, features hardly a blade of grass or a single flower for most of its 10 miles of length.Long ago, in the 19th century, the ring roads wide expanse was home to verdant foliage and impressive gardens, but Stalins replanning of the Soviet capital saw the greenery disappear in favour of the current concrete hoop, lined for much of its length with overbearing Stalinist architecture.

Fumes waft from traffic jams a dozen lanes thick, while at night boy racers drive their sports cars at truly terrifying speeds

[14].

As the example shows, this noun expresses the dictionary meaning of "gardening", as reported in the above text dedicated to the return of the green design of the Garden Ring of Moscow.

Along with the above-mentioned nouns, the noun greenness is also used in English journalistic texts, which has the following dictionary meanings:

- greens,

- inexperience, immaturity,

- environmental friendliness [9].

In English journalistic texts, this lexeme is able to display the dictionary meaning of "environmental friendliness". For example:

Greenness of delivery methodsIs there any difference environmentally in sending the same item second class, first class, or by special delivery?

Each year, the Royal Mail publishes the total tonnage of carbon dioxide it emits transporting post. In 2005/06, the figure was 495,567 tonnes - a small decrease from the year before - with its road fleet accounting for 82% of the total. During this period 30.66bn items of post passed through the system so, with a quick tap on a calculator, it works out that the average transport-related CO2 emissions caused by sending one item of post stands at 16g. If you include all the other service-related CO2 emissions, such as those caused by running its buildings and staff commuting to work, then this rises to 26g - a quarter of the weight allowance for a standard letter sent first class. To put this in context, if you flew the one-way flight from, say, Edinburgh to London with the letter and delivered it by hand the CO2 emissions would be 70kg, according to Climate Care [15].

In this case, we are talking about the meaning of "environmental friendliness" in this token when describing the work of the UK post. In order to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the text calls for saving vehicles, transporting parcels and parcels by postal road transport.

It is advisable to consider in detail the semantics of verbs formed from the adjective green, used in English journalistic texts. The examples showed the use of the verb green up, which has the following dictionary meanings:

  1. landscaping
  2. make it green
  3. turn green
  4. to make someone realize the importance of environmental protection
  5. to mystify, to deceive (razgov.) [9].

In English journalistic texts, this lexeme is used with the preposition up and conveys the meaning "to make eco-friendly", which correlates with the dictionary meaning "to make someone realize the importance of environmental protection".

Repair your clothes and use natural deodorant five ways to green up your lifeFaced with the fact he could be doing more to make less of an impact on the environment, writer Alim Kheraj learns to sew, shops local and overcomes his fear of natural deodorant

After not having ridden a bike for 15 years, I picked up cycling.

Its since become my main mode of transport. Ive desperately tried to cut down on single-use plastic. I recycle and take the bus or the tube whenever Im not on my bike[16].

As an example demonstrates, in this context, this token conveys the meaning of "making life eco-friendly and healthy", since the text advertises the use of a bicycle as a means of transportation, the use of natural cosmetics on the example of the lifestyle of the writer Alim Heraj.

So, in English-language journalistic texts, the green color expresses the neutral symbolism of the green color of objects of material reality. In addition, it is able to display the positive symbolism of the resolution of the requested action, environmental protection.

It is advisable to carry out a quantitative calculation of the use of verbs and nouns that convey the symbolism of green in English journalistic texts. The following diagram shows the results obtained.

Diagram 1. Quantitative representation by means of ouns and verbs with green color in English and American journalistic textsAs the diagram shows, in English journalistic texts, the most common presentation of green symbols is in the form of nouns g reen/greens (85%).

Less often, the symbolism of green color is transmitted by the noun greenery (9%). It is very rare in the analyzed texts that the noun greenness (3%) and the verb green up (3%) are used to demonstrate the symbolism of green.

In the German language, the lexemes displaying the green color correspond to the adjective gr ? n in their word formation. Such lexemes include the nouns das Gr ? n, die Gr ? ne and the verb gr ? nen. Let's consider each case in more detail.

The noun das Gr ? n, according to lexicographic sources, is able to express the following list of meanings:

- green color,

- green traffic light,

- greenery, green plants (grass, foliage),

- golf course [10].

In journalistic texts in German, the designated lexeme expresses dictionary meanings, among which there is the meaning of "greenery" as a plant, for example:

Lassen Sie Ihr Dach vermoosenIm Kampf gegen Hitze und Starkregen z?hlt in St?dten jedes bisschen Gr?n.

Landschaftsarchitekt Tim Kaysers sagt, was Immobilienbesitzer tun k?nnen und warum daf?r nicht viel Zeit bleibt.SPIEGEL:Herr Kaysers, Hitze bereits im Fr?hsommer, ?berschwemmungen durch Starkregen: Sind die deutschen St?dte gewappnet f?r die Auswirkungen desKlimawandels?

[17].

As the example indicates, the green color explicates the positive symbolism of the presence of greenery in cities, which creates more favorable living conditions for citizens in the hot summer.

The analyzed lexeme can also convey the meaning of the vocabulary plan "the green color of the traffic light" in journalistic texts. For example:

Bei Gr?n: Vollgas. Anklage: MordSie gaben Vollgas wie auf der Rennstrecke, nur mitten in Berlin: Die Staatsanwaltschaft hat zwei M?nner angeklagt, die sich ein illegales Autorennen geliefert haben sollen.

Der Vorwurf lautet Mord. Die Frau, die schnelle Autos liebt, hat Angst. Auf hohen Plateauabs?tzen tippelt sie den dunklen Flur vor Saal 621 des Berliner Landgerichts auf und ab. Sie f?rchtet sich vor der Begegnung mit dem Mann, der schnelle Autos liebt[18].

In the proposed context, this lexeme conveys the dictionary meaning of "green traffic light", which gives a negative symbolism to the green color, as the fact of allowing passage when pedestrians pass during an illegal car race at the Kurfurstendamm in Berlin.

We found a similar meaning in another example:

Wie begr??en wir uns in einer Pandemie?Eine britische Firma verteilt bunte Schl?sselb?nder an ihre Mitarbeiter: Rot f?r Leute, die viel Abstand wollen, Gr?n f?r die, die auch Handschlag oder Umarmung okay finden.

Kann das funktionieren? Nachfrage bei dem Chef.SPIEGEL:Herr Jones, Sie haben vor ein paar Wochen ein Foto auf Twitter ver?ffentlicht, das Schl?sselb?nder in drei Farben zeigt: Rot, Gr?n und Gelb.

Diese sollten Ihre Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter tragen und so den anderen zeigen k?nnen, womit sie sich nach der R?ckkehr vom Homeoffice ins B?ro wohlf?hlen: Abklatschen und auch mal eine Umarmung bei Gr?n, gr??tm?gliche Distanz bei Rot. War das ein Social-Media-Gag oder sind die Dinger wirklich in Gebrauch?[19].

In this case, the green color has the symbolism of allowing an action to a person and the token itself is used metaphorically as a way to demonstrate safe contact during a pandemic for office employees who do not suffer from covid.

In addition to the designated values, this token can display neutral symbols, expressing the meaning of "golf course".

Charlie Woods stiehlt Papa Tiger die Show

Die Posen, die Gesten, der Schwung: Auch ohne Partnerlook war auf dem Gr?n schnell klar, wessen Sohn dieser talentierte Elfj?hrige ist. Geschlagen geben mussten sich die Woods bei dem Familienturnier dennoch. Der elfj?hrige Charlie Woods beeindruckt die Golf-Welt. Bei seinem ersten gro?en Turnier zeigte der kleine Woods an der Seite seines 44 Jahre alten VatersTiger, dass auch er die Kunst des Golfspielens beherrscht[20].

As an example shows, this token, along with negative and positive symbols, can act as a neutral symbol in German journalistic texts for the designation of a golf course.

So, the lexeme das Gr?n in German journalistic texts, displaying the green color, may, along with positive, negative symbols, be able to show neutral green symbols when it comes simply to objects of real reality.

It is advisable to similarly consider the representation of green symbolism in the analyzed texts by means of the noun die Gr?ne, which has the following number of dictionary meanings:

- green color,

- a person belonging to the Green Party [10].

In German journalistic texts, this lexeme expresses the dictionary meaning of "representatives of the Green Party". For example:

Macron will das Atomkraft-Comeback und die Ampel muss zuschauenDie EU plant, Atomenergie als nachhaltig anzuerkennen, besonders Frankreich setzt sich f?r die Meiler ein.

F?r Deutschland ein politischer Albtraum vor allem f?r die Gr?nen.Olaf Scholz trat mit dem ganzen Gewicht seiner Biografie auf.

Er sei schon immer ein Gegner der Atomkraft gewesen, sagte der designierte Bundeskanzler, als er in den vergangenen Tagen mit Frankreichs Pr?sidentEmmanuel Macronund EU-KommissionschefinUrsula von der Leyensprach. Er ticke da kaum anders als die Gr?nen, so lautete sein Hinweis, der seine Wirkung nicht verfehlte. Schlie?lich kann man den k?nftigen deutschen Regierungschef und wom?glich neuen starken Mann Europas nicht schon desavouieren, bevor er sein Amt ?berhaupt angetreten hat. Und so stellte die Br?sseler Beh?rde erst einmal ihren Plan zur?ck, die Atomkraft zu einer nachhaltigen Technologie zu erkl?ren[21].

In this context, the named token with its meaning emphasizes the presence of positive symbolism of the manifestation of green as a sign of environmental protection from a possible nuclear catastrophe.

In German journalistic texts, there is the use of not only nouns connected word-formatively with the adjective g r ? n, but also verbs. Among such lexical units is the verb gr ? nen, which has the following dictionary meaning:

- turn green [10].

In the analyzed texts, this lexeme is used in the dictionary meaning.

Meine Altbauwohnung, mein Rennrad, meine AlocasiaEinst trutschig, heute hip: In Deutschlands Wohnzimmern gr?nt es und im Internet regnet es Herzchen f?r in Szene gesetzte Zimmerpflanzen.

Woher kommt die Sehnsucht nach mehr Natur zu Hause? Und wie nachhaltig ist der Trend?Im Berliner SzenebezirkKreuzberg, zwischen Biosupermarkt und veganem Schuhladen, l?sst Hanni Schermaul um die Mittagszeit die Rolll?den ihrer Boutique hoch.

Im Schaufenster werden keine Kleider oder Handtaschen ausgestellt, sondern Pflanzen in allen m?glichen Farben und Formen: 30 Jahre alte, dicke Kakteen und filigrane, langbl?ttrige Gr?npflanzen, die an durchsichtigen F?den am Fenster baumeln. Hanni Schermaul bezeichnet ihren Pflanzenladen The Botanical Room als Boutique, weil hier keine gew?hnlichen Gummib?ume ?ber die Ladentheke wandern. Jede Pflanze ist ein Unikat, und jede findet hier ihren passenden Topf[22].

In this context, the specified lexeme expresses the meaning of "the process of greening the environment", in this case, the greening of housing. And the token itself conveys the positive symbolism of green as a perception of beauty and healthy life among plants.

However, in German journalistic texts, this verb can be used in a metaphorical sense, demonstrating an indication of belonging to the Green party. For example:

Deutsche TeilungEs gr?nt so gr?n: Die ?kopartei l?st die SPD als Hauptkonkurrent der Union ab.

Doch die beiden sind sich ?hnlicher, als es dem politischen Wettstreit guttut. Vor allem bleibt das Rechtsau?en-Problem im Osten.Die beste Nachricht dieses Wahlabends ist diese: In Deutschland haben die entschieden proeurop?ischen Parteien eine satte Mehrheit errungen.

Auf CDU, Gr?ne, SPD, CSU und FDP entfallen rund 70 Prozent der Stimmen. Besonders jene, die optimistisch und emphatisch f?r Europa warben, haben ihr bestes bundesweites Ergebnis aller Zeiten eingefahren: die Gr?nen[23].

In this case, the metaphorical representation of the green color reflects the negative symbolism of the arrangement of political parties in the German government system, when it is said about the majority of the number of voters who voted for the Green party.

Consequently, in German journalistic texts, with the help of its dictionary meanings, the lexeme gr ?nen expresses, along with the positive symbolism of green as a symbol of beauty and a healthy lifestyle, and the negative symbolism of evaluating the actions of the political party "green".

We consider it expedient to carry out a quantitative calculation of the use of nouns and verbs that display the symbolism of green in German journalistic texts. The results of the calculation are given in the diagram.

Diagram 2. Quantitative representation by means of German nouns and verbs with green color in jurnalistic texts

Hence, in German journalistic texts, the symbolism of green is conveyed through the nouns Gr ? n/ Gr ? ne (95%), rarely with the verb gr ? nen (5%).

Consequently, the symbolism of the green color, verbalized in German journalistic texts by means of the nouns das Gr ? n, die Gr ? ne and the verb gr ? nen, can be both positive and negative. Basically, the positive symbolism of the green color is noted when it comes to environmental protection, belonging to the Green party, greening cities. But the symbolism can also be negative when a sharp criticism of the political activities of the Green Party in Germany is given.

Summary table of the reflection of green color symbolism in Englisch and German journalistic texts

Symbolism

English journalistic texts

German journalistic texts

Positive symbolism

Permission of the requested action, environmental protection

Environmental protection, membership in the Green Party, urban greening

Negative symbolism

-

Harsh criticism of the political activities of the Green Party in Germany

Neutral transmission of the green color of objects

Green color of objects of material reality

Green color of objects of material reality

As the summary table shows, in English and German journalistic texts, neutral symbolism of the green color of objects of the surrounding reality is equally used. In the compared languages, there is a positive symbolism of green in the analyzed texts. Similarities in this case are stated when it comes to environmental protection. A distinctive feature of English journalistic texts is the designation of positive green symbolism by means of appropriate nouns and verbs to represent the resolution of the requested action. And German journalistic texts ? to indicate belonging to the "green" party and to describe cases of greening of German cities.

The negative symbolism of the green color is observed only in German journalistic texts, when the actions of the Green Party in solving internal political problems of Germany are criticized.

A comparison of the quantitative representation of the use of nouns and verbs as markers of green color in journalistic texts in the compared languages showed the predominant use of nouns, not verbs, to the same extent.

Conclusions:In English, the green color is conveyed by its symbolism by the nouns green, greenery, greenness and the verb green up.

  1. The nouns green, greenery, greenness and the verb green up convey through their meanings the positive symbolism of green in journalistic texts when it comes to environmental protection, permission to perform human actions.
  2. In German, the symbolism of green is conveyed through the nouns das Gr?n, die Gr?ne and the verb gr?nen.
  3. The nouns das Gr ? n, die Gr ? ne and the verb gr ? nen are able to convey the positive symbolism of green in journalistic texts when talking about environmental protection, greening cities. In addition to positive symbols, they are able to convey negative symbols when the author of the article criticizes the actions of the Green Party.
  4. A similar point is considered to be the presence in journalistic texts, both in English and in German, the transmission of positive green symbolism through nouns and verbs formed from the corresponding adjectives when informing about environmental protection. Otherwise, there are differences.



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