Modern and ancient migrants’ narratives through ELF. An Experiential-Linguistic project in Responsible Tourism


Abstract – This article explores the emotional experience of Italian seaside resorts whose geographical position in the Southern Mediterranean coasts has always determined their destiny as places of hospitality and hybridization of languages and cultures. A Cognitive-pragmatic Model of Experiential Linguistics (Lakoff, Johnson 1999; Langacker 1991; Sweetser 1990) and some strategies of Experiential Place Marketing (Hosany, Prayag 2011; Jani, Han 2013; Prayag et al. 2013) will be employed to ‘emotionally promote’ Responsible Tourism (Lin et al. 2014; Ma et al. 2013) in order to enquire into the effects of emotions upon the tourists’ experience of the holiday as a path towards their ‘personal and cultural growth’. The case study illustrated in this article represents precisely an instance of ELF communication developing from tourists’ and migrants’ appraisal of: (a) the contemporary non-Western migrants’ dramatic sea-voyage narratives reported in their ELF variations (Guido 2008, 2012), and (b) the epic narratives of Mediterranean ‘odysseys’ towards ‘utopian places’ belonging to the Western cultural heritage, translated from Ancient Greek and Latin into ELF. The subjects of this case study under analysis are tourists playing the role of ‘intercultural mediators’ with migrants in one of the seaside resorts of Salento affected by migrant arrivals. To facilitate tourists’ and migrants’ processes of ‘experiential embodiment’ of past and present dramatic sea voyages, they will be introduced to an ‘Ethnopoetic analysis’ (Hymes 1994, 2003) of two corpora of modern and ancient oral journey narratives – the former collected during ethnographic fieldworks in reception centres for refugees, and the latter including extracts from Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. The purpose is to make tourists and migrants play the roles of ‘philologists’ and ‘ethnographers’ as they realize how such ancient and modern oral narratives are experientially organized into spontaneous ‘verse structures’ reproducing the sequences and rhythms of human actions and emotions in response to the traumatic experience of violent natural phenomena which, through the use of ergative syntactic structures (Talmy 1988), become metaphorically personified as objects and elements endowed with an autonomous, dynamic force capable of destroying the human beings at their mercy. The Ethnopoetic analysis and translation, together with the subsequent multimodal rendering of such journey narratives into ‘premotional videos’ for place-marketing purposes (Kress 2009), aim at making both tourists and migrants aware of their common experiential roots, as well as of the socio-cultural values of the different populations that have produced them.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v24p87

Keywords: English as a Lingua Franca; Responsible Tourism; experiential place marketing; Ethnopoetic analysis; migrants’ sea-voyage narratives; classical epic sea-voyage narratives; multimodal video making and subtitling


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