The “power of incantation”: A linguistic analysis of European theme parks’ websites


Representing “an instance of highly specialized discourse” (Gotti 2006, p. 21), the language of tourism has become an area of great interest in academia, where its multifaceted essence has been studied from different, but intertwined, perspectives. A common feature that characterizes tourist materials is the shared aim of convincing future clients to choose the tourist attraction they are promoting, implementing specific verbal, visual and multimodal techniques. Amongst the strategies commonly associated with the language of tourism promotion tense and magic can be found (Dann 1996). The first projects the tourist outside of present time, denying the existence of time itself, or by transporting the tourist into a nostalgic past or into a utopic future. Magic, on the other hand, relies on the “power of incantation”, and on the transportation to locations that do not only exist outside of time, but also outside of a physical place. This contribution aims at investigating how such strategies come into play in the promotion of major theme parks across Europe. Looking specifically at the language used in the construction of narratives in the official websites of eight major European theme parks, the data will be analysed through both a qualitative and quantitative approach. The use of keywords and expressions pertaining to these two dimensions will be analysed and commented upon, with the aim of investigating which distinctive promotional strategies are used to “convert [tourists] from potential to actual clients” (Dann 1996, p. 2) in the domain of theme parks.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v29p425

Keywords: theme parks; language of tourism; keywords analysis; corpus linguistics; discourse analysis


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