Language analysis of convention on the rights of the child to enhance societal awareness on the issue

Anastasia Atabekova, Rimma Gorbatenko, Tatyana Shoustikova, Nebojša Radić

Abstract


The research aims to explore the cognitive-semantic structure of the above child rights phenomenon through the language analysis, and compare the perceptions of different stakeholders as target audiences with regard to diverse formats of the Convention contents and its essence representation. The research materials combine academic literature on the topic, the text of the Convention on the rights of the child, its child friendly version as the background material for empirical study, and the data from the open-ended questionnaire. The pool of its respondents included social workers, teachers, and lawyers who deal with children’s rights issues. The research methods integrated qualitative and quantitative approaches, theoretical analysis of relevant literature, textual analysis of the Convention text (including content analysis, manual and automated coding, distributional analysis), and open-ended questionnaire of the experts in the field under study. Factor analysis was implemented to analyze the experts’ views. SPSS was used for statistical data processing. The research results led to a number of conclusions. The linear enumeration of rights through the Convention articles leads just to the same linear perception of the facts. Meanwhile, verbal-visual multidimensional  representation of the Convention macrostructure  provides grounds for synergetic interpretation where not just the rights but the stakeholders, the scope and specifics of their duties and obligations, societal contexts of their activities are identified. This, in turn, it leads to the conclusion that the format of the Convention representation that was shaped through the present study can contribute to enhancing public awareness and education on the child’s rights within diverse social settings. The research findings cast new light on the potential of discourse analysis for the Convention interpretation within legal, educational and academic contexts.


Keywords


interdisciplinary discourse studies, language, cognitive linguistics, semantic analysis, societal awareness

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