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Language matters for biodiversity

Fish, Robert D., Austen, Gail E., Bentley, Jacob W., Dallimer, Martin, Fisher, Jessica C., Irvine, Katherine N., Bentley, Phoebe R., Nawrath, Maximilian, Davies, Zoe G. (2024) Language matters for biodiversity. BioScience, . ISSN 0006-3568. E-ISSN 1525-3244. (doi:10.1093/biosci/biae014) (KAR id:104965)

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Language is central to the way people learn about the natural world. A salient concern of the biodiversity conservation arena has been to understand how language can be employed by scientists to communicate knowledge to non-expert audiences and build ecological literacy. The use of analogy and narrative by scientists are prominent techniques. This paper considers how these two modes of language-based reasoning extend into ordinary conversational language use by the public, specifically when articulating everyday understandings and experiences of biodiversity. Drawing on a process of public engagement in a UK woodland environment, a typological framework based on principles of analogical and narrative reasoning is developed to characterize the precise character of processes of everyday biodiversity sense-making. The implications of the framework are discussed in the context of future biodiversity research, particularly its participatory and educational dimensions.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/biosci/biae014
Uncontrolled keywords: analogy; biodiversity; language; learning; metaphor
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: European Research Council (
Depositing User: Robert Fish
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2024 12:44 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 15:02 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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