Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1877-9751
  • E-ISSN: 1877-976X
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Among the linguistic consequences of the current pandemic, we focus on the usage of the lexeme in Italian, both in the language of the daily press and in institutional/technical language. More specifically, we analyze the range of its polysemy and the role of metonymy in the semantic shifts that have produced it. The salience of the highly infectious pathogen, which also prompted its metaphorical reconceptualization, triggered the first extension of the term, originally denoting the disease, to predominantly denote the virus that causes it. This has also resulted in an almost complete shift of grammatical gender from feminine to masculine. Beside the primary metonymic shift, developed a variety of further meanings which highlight different components of the emerging . The linguistic data are drawn from , a daily general-interest newspaper, and from a selection of texts by major governmental and health institutions.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): frame; grammatical gender; Italian; metaphor; metonymy; pandemic; polysemy
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