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Bohnen and Hennies at Macromedia University of Applied Sciences


On May 30th, 2017, Dr. Johannes Bohnen and Lutz-Peter Hennies gave a lecture on "Language strategy: strategic semantics and political framing" to students at Macromedia University of Applied Sciences. The focus was on how to design a language strategy with messages that are as coherent and target group-oriented as possible. Above all, it is crucial to pay attention to the relationship level in communication. Language only reaches its target if their positions and interests are taken into account. However, it is important not to compromise one's own position.

Bohnen and Hennies advocated a positive and activating approach that is both argumentative and emotional and open to admitting one's own mistakes. This is particularly recommended in light of the dwindling trust in social institutions such as governments, the media, companies, and NGOs. In such a climate, it is important to understand the performative power of language: Language does not simply represent politics - it makes politics. We should therefore pay greater attention to it. In the sense of strategic semantics, it is a matter of taking up the struggle for terms and interpretative sovereignty in the public sphere. To be successful, political framing helps: Our political terms implicitly carry a range of connotations that mostly remain unconscious but provoke very specific associations in the addressee. In other words, frames put issues in a particular perspective, they provide context. According to Bohnen and Hennies, if one is aware of this, one can convey one's core messages in a more targeted manner.

In the subsequent discussion with the students and Prof. Dominik Pietzcker, there was a particular interest in semantics and framing concerning foreign policy. The role of Germany in the world against the background of its history and the change of course of the USA under President Trump was discussed.

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