Portrait of the mountaineering tourist: commands and offers in the promotion of mountain destinations in the Veneto Dolomites

31 May 2024
Room C1

Portrait of the mountaineering tourist: commands and offers in the promotion of mountain destinations in the Veneto Dolomites

Tourism discourse and its relation to destination marketing and hospitality management is thriving as a topic of research from multiple perspectives and within several disciplines, including linguistics. Previous research has allowed for the identification of frequent communication strategies (cf. Manca, 2016; Maci, 2020).  As Manca (2016, p. 38) remarks, goods and services, as in the hospitality industry, may be either offered or commanded. The former is accomplished linguistically through dynamic modality (“can”; Palmer, 1990), the latter through affirmative and negative imperative forms. This study aims at building a portrait of the prospective visitor to mountain destinations through the analysis of ego-targeted offers and commands in a corpus of 290 English-language institutional and non-institutional website pages promoting destinations in the Veneto Dolomites. The corpus, part of a larger project, was built through web-crawling with BootCat (Baroni & Bernardini, 2004) software and includes a description of the images in the form of XML tags. The study relied on the SketchEngine (Kilgarriff et al., 2014) to extract base form verbs through Corpus Query Language; a second stage of manual filtering was performed to select instances of ego-targeted offers and commands, which were then categorized according to their linguistic form: residue, modal finite, negative finite, negative modal finite (Manca, 2016). Preliminary results from a sample of the corpus show that affirmative commands and offers are notably more common, promoting a variety of outdoor activities (check, discover, choose, reach), highlighting the beauty of the local views (admire, see), and providing instructions to visitors on how to best exploit their time at the destination (get, take, go). Thus, the prospective mountain tourist is depicted as an active, dynamic traveler who wants to get inspired, take in the spectacular sights, and needs specific directions to explore the area.



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Kilgarriff, A., Baisa, V., Bušta, J., Jakubíček, M., Kovář, V., Michelfeit, J., Rychlý, P., & Suchomel, V. 2014. The Sketch Engine: Ten years on. Lexicography, 1, 7-36.

Manca, E. (2016). Persuasion in tourism discourse: Methodologies and models. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Maci, S. (2020). English tourism discourse: Insights into the professional, promotional and digital language of tourism. Hoepli.

Palmer, F. R. (1990). Modality and the English modals (2nd edition). Longman Linguistics Library.