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Current key word coronavirus in memes: semantics and pragmatics of use

Научные исследования: 


For citation: Prokofieva N., Shcheglova E. Current key word ‘coronavirus’ in memes: semantics and pragmatics of use // Mediascope. 2021. 2. Availabe at:

DOI: 10.30547/mediascope.2.2021.8


© Natalia A. Prokofieva

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor at the Chair of Media Linguistics, Saint Petersburg State University (Saint Petersburg, Russia),

© Ekaterina A. Shcheglova

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor at the Institute ‘Higher school of journalism and mass communications’, Saint Petersburg State University



The article observes the word ‘coronavirus’ functioning which has dynamically rushed into the usage and quickly obtained the status of the word of the moment. A specific speech genre – meme – was chosen for the empiric base. A meme is perceived as a comic genre of contemporary folklore. Memes might be divided into two large groups: the foundation for one being a socially meaning event, the foundation of the other being a socially meaningless but widely spread image. A significant condition for creating a meme is the possibility of comic reconsideration of an event or an image. Within the presented study, we have considered memes which illustrate the situation related to the spread of coronavirus infection. The analysis of the empiric base has been conducted in accordance with the authors' method. The analysis results have revealed such connotative meanings as danger, plague, pandemic, disaster; the word semantics is described as well as pragmatics of its usage. The authors draw the conclusion that memes reflect the topical linguistic worldview of a language bearer, the speech component of memes allows renewing and forming the semantic meaning of current key words, and memes influence the word semantics formation and its perception of a certain mentality bearer.

Keywords: current key word, meme, coronavirus, media discourse, linguistic worldview.



The research was carried out with the support of the RFFI and ANO AESI, project № 20-011-31481 ‘Future in the reflection of the present: key words of the moment in memes’.



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