Language and our new feelings about climate change

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COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, is a moment when many people’s feelings about climate crisis are brought to the fore. Ways of expressing these emotions through language throws up numerous issues of interest to linguists, translators, interpreters, and communication scientists. Movement is central here. New words can go from specialist areas into wider public spheres. Existing meanings of emotion words shape new coinages. The status of English as a global language affects what gets discussed. There may be inter-influences between languages. Cultural and linguistic backgrounds, as well as diverse migrant experiences, can have a relationship with subjective feelings about climate change.

Over the past four years, the School Strikes 4 Climate has drawn attention to young people’s negative feelings …