Today, Hazel Price delivered a paper at the Centre for Language and Linguistics at The University of Kent entitled: ‘Exploring and predicting semantic change in the language of mental health: a corpus-based study of UK news reports on mental illness.’
Hazel writes: In this talk, I introduce the MI 1984-2014 corpus which comprises 44,819,893 words taken from UK news reports published on the topic of mental illness between 1984 and 2014, a period of time that saw a relatively high level of mental health reform in the UK. I show that lexical items in the semantic domain of mental health and illness are undergoing semantic change, in particular, terms to refer to states of mental illness are undergoing a process of socially-motivated and euphemistic language change. I discuss the implications of my findings in relation to diachronic studies that explore representations of mental health and illness, e.g. exploring stigma in mental illness discourse. I also discuss the applications of my research for stakeholders in mental health research more generally, e.g. anti-stigma organisations.