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Construal operations in online press reports of political protests

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One of the most successful new ‘schools’ or ‘approaches’ in CDS is represented by a body of work applying insights from Cognitive Linguistics (Chilton 2004; Dirven, Frank and Putz 2003; Hart 2010, 2011a; Hart and Lukeš 2007). This body of work includes but is not limited to Critical Metaphor Analysis (e.g. Charteris-Black 2004; Koller 2004; Musolff 2004). At the theoretical core of this ‘Cognitive Linguistic Approach’ (CLA) are the notions of conceptualisation and construal. Conceptualisation is the dynamic cognitive process involved in meaning-making as discourse unfolds. This process entails language connecting with background knowledge and global cognitive abilities to yield local mental representations. To the extent that the CLA focuses on the relation between discourse and conceptualisation, it addresses the cognitive import of (ideologically imbued) linguistic representations (cf. Stubbs 1997: 106). Construal refers to the different ways in which a given scene, guided by language, can be conceptualised. Alternative ‘construal operations’ are reliant on different cross-domain cognitive systems and realise different (ideological) discursive strategies. In this chapter, I discuss some of the specific construal operations which, invoked in the audience, are the locus proper of ideological reproduction in discourse. I do so in the context of two contrasting online news texts reporting on the G20 protests in London, 2009.