Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’: A corpus study of environmental and religious discourse


This paper explores aspects of the lexico-grammar of religiously oriented environmental discourse produced by a leading religious authority, Pope Francis. It examines the most frequent keywords and keyword clusters of the encyclical letter Laudato Si’ against popularised updates on scientific and technological advances available on the NASA website. The findings show that Laudato Si’ draws attention both to how people’s behaviour affects the environment and to its relevance to the current political and economic situation. The Letter also calls for a much-needed caring attitude towards the environment, and thus appears to be characterized by the directive communicative function throughout, while presenting a more specific religious slant only in select chapters. The analysis carried out highlights both the topics and the rhetorical goals of the discourse of Pope Francis.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v29p121

Keywords: environmental discourse; religious discourse; keyword analysis; lexical patterns; Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’


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