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The post-fact world in a post-truth era: the productivity and emergent meanings of the prefix post- in contemporary English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 June 2019

EWELINA PRAŻMO*
Affiliation:
Humanities Department, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Pl. M. Curie-Skłodowskiej 5, 20-031Lublin, Poland, ewelinaprazmo@gmail.com

Abstract

This article proposes a cognitive linguistic analysis of the prefix post- in contemporary English by looking into the possible motivations of the semantic changes which have led to the increasing applicability of the prefix. The prefix's productivity in combinations such as post-truth and post-fact calls for expanding its original definition. These recent combinations go beyond the main two established meanings of the prefix, namely the spatial and the temporal meaning. In order to explain this semantic extension a radial model of categorisation is proposed. Offering an analysis of contexts in which the prefix post- is used in British and American press coverage, especially in relation to the 2016 UK Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential campaign, the article claims that the appearance of the prefix in new combinations is motivated by the need to describe the changing reality (especially in political and media discourse).

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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