It’s fair to say that almost anyone who takes the risks associated with these trips is likely to be desperate and is seeking refuge. But to label all those aboard the ships as refugees may not be accurate. The word migrants, however, fits. Webster’s says that to migrate is to “move from one place to another.” A migrant, in turn, is “a person, bird, or animal that migrates.”
The word also conveys what is happening: Large numbers of people are on the move, looking for homes. They are migrating across hundreds or thousands of miles.
The word “immigrants” is not being used in most media reports. There’s a sad reason. To immigrate, Webster’s notes, is to “come into a new country, region or environment … esp. in order to settle there.”
Tragically, the hundreds who died this month did not reach their destinations.
Note: We know there are also legal definitions of the words migrant and refugee. The International Organization for Migration has posted its glossary here. This post and Saturday’s “Word Matters” conversation, however, are about the way news outlets use the words, not international agencies.
Mark Memmott is NPR’s standards and practices editor. He co-hosted The Two Way from its launch in May 2009 through April 2014.
NPR Link in case the player fails to upload below.
Taylor, C. (2014) Investigating the representation of migrants in the UK and Italian press: A cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse analysis.International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 19(3), 368-400.
This paper is a cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse study of the representation of migrants in the Italian and UK press and it adopts a two-stage methodological approach. In the first phase, the number of references to nationalities which collocate with refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, migrants (and Italian equivalents) are calculated and this information is subsequently used to identify any ‘mismatch’ between the amount of attention that migrants from a given country receive in the media and the official population estimates. In the second, and most extensive stage, the representations of the foregrounded nationalities are analysed through the moral panic framework. Results show an extensive negative representation of some groups, but there is no evidence of a fully iterated moral panic relating to any of the nationalities investigated.
In particular, when people move from less wealthy nations (for example, Bangladesh, Haiti, and Mexico) to more wealthy nations, they tend to be described as immigrants. When they move from more wealthy nations (for example, the US, the UK, and Australia or “The West” generally) to any other country, they are more likely to be labelled expats. Furthermore, people who move across borders without highly valued skill sets are labelled immigrants (and sometimes called low skill or unskilled immigrants), although there is discussion of high-skilled immigrants as well. In contrast, expats are generally assumed to have wealth and/or some type of highly valued skill set. In short, upon arrival, expats are often elites in their new homes.
Migrants to Britain hoping to gain citizenship must get 75 per cent or more on the Life in the UK test, which was recently revamped to incorporate “British values” (whatever they are).
A survey has found that most young Britons would actually fail the test, however, which probably has Ukip supporters feeling very confused indeed.
Read the whole feature here.
The Executive Board of Arab Society of English language Studies (ASELS) in collaboration with the King Fahd School of Translation are pleased to announce the Call For Papers for the International Conference.
25-27 November 2014 at the King Fahd School of Translation, Tanger, Morocco, Abdel Malek Essaadi University.
A general Call For Paper has been posted at http://annual-conference.asels.org/call-for-papers/
Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) will publish a special peer-reviewed edition of this ASELS conference papers http://annual-conference.asels.org/publication/
Please consider to contribute to and/or forward to the appropriate groups who might be interested in submitting contribution to our international conference.
Venue: King Fahad School of Translation, Tangier, Morocco
Conference Dates: 25 -27 November 2014
Abstract submission deadline: Tuesday 30th September 2014.
Notification of acceptance: Authors will receive an official notification of acceptance within a week after their submissions.