Cognitive linguistic approaches to discourse and menopause
The public discourse in the UK is experiencing a drive for menopause awareness to tackle the stigma surrounding the condition. This is reflected in movements such as #menopauserevolution on social media, medical initiatives (Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, 2019) and the recent push for a new bill concerning hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for the treatment of menopausal symptoms (Department of Health and Social Care, 2021; Muir, 2021). The latter emphasise the complexity of mental and physical menopausal symptoms and therefore highlight the positive impact that medical intervention like HRT may have on patients’ lives. While such intervention may improve their menopause experience from a medical perspective, the role of language use in clinical menopause consultations and its impact on patients seems to be under-researched.
Research on the menopause stems mainly from medicine, sociology or psychology, whereas linguistic contributions are comparatively scarce. Therefore, this project aims to start filling this gap and examine the role of language used in primary care interactions between doctors and menopausal patients. Rooted in cognitive linguistic approaches to health communication and discourse analysis, the study will identify and analyse prevalent linguistic features of such consultations. It will empirically test the effects of these features on patients to gauge the social and emotional impact of medical intervention on lived menopause experiences.
Pathway 7: Linguistics, Media & Culture