Past events collective memory in linguistic perspective: case-study of the British royal family speeches
The study examines the construal of collective memory in Great Britain concerning the victory in the Second World War and its linguistic representation. Collective memory is driven by political interests and framed by ideological narrative which undergoes changes throughout time. The royal family as a symbol of the country voices the core values and principles of the whole nation and transmits ideology. Taking critical discourse analysis as the methodological framework for the study, we analyze the commemorative speeches related to the celebration of victory in WWII delivered by the members of the royal family (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II) in 1945 and 2020 in order to investigate the transformation of the British collective memory about World War II and identify the linguistic means used for its production and transmission. The analysis is based on Fairclough’s three-dimensional framework of critical discourse analysis, as well as on the principles of systemic functional linguistics developed by Halliday. We also applied the three-step model of social actor analysis provided by Darics and Koller. The study suggests that British collective memory has transformed but its core principles and ideas are still the same and used for pursuing the aims connected with political, ideological issues of the present. The language means used in the construal of the collective memory in Great Britain reveal how the past and current narratives were produced to serve the specific purposes to meet the challenges in different periods of time.