The effect of fake news on the conceptualisation of the role of the face mask during the Covid-19 pandemic in Poland

A cognitive linguistic perspective




filter bubble, face mask, cognitive linguistics, subjectification, frame


The aim ascribed to this paper is to investigate the effect of fake news on the conceptualisation of the role of the face mask and the distinguishing features of its wearers during the Covid-19 pandemic in Poland. The analysis is couched in the cognitive linguistics paradigm in which meaning is dynamic, negotiated in context (Langacker 2008) and may be influenced by the mental process of subjectification, as a result of which the conceptualiser explicitly expresses their attitude towards an element or elements of the perceived scene. The main objective is to demonstrate how being enclosed in the Covid-19 fake news filter bubble (in the sense of Pariser 2011) subjectifies the conceptualisation of the reality of the pandemic, manifesting itself through replacing the standard Polish term maseczka ‘face mask’ by negatively loaded lexemes, which express a critical and frequently condescending attitude towards this unpopular sanitary accessory and people using it. The meanings of the equivalents of maseczka are analysed in context in order to demonstrate how they are both grounded in and updated by the expressions occurring in the Current Discourse Space (Langacker 2008).


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