Trigger warnings in a cultural-cognitive linguistic perspective

Penelope Jane Scott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses the recent emergence of a new piece of formulaic language, the trigger warning. The study examines use of trigger warnings, as well as discourse around the idea of the trauma trigger in the Birmingham Blog Corpus. The analysis is presented from a cultural-cognitive perspective, focusing on particular on the image schematic and conceptual metaphoric basis of the conceptualisations. The conceptualisation of trauma, and more specifically, PTSD, has been argued to be culturally specific. Its construction as an entity that can re-emerge and cause harm has a history in the English language going back to the First World War. This idea has developed over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and the trigger warning is the culmination of a modern folk model of trauma together with discourse functions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCulture, Cognition, Discourse and Grammar
Subtitle of host publicationCognitive Considerations on Formulaic Language
PublisherPeter Lang AG
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783631773864
ISBN (Print)9783631773871
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2019


  • Cognitive
  • Culture
  • Image schema
  • Metaphor
  • PTSD
  • Trauma

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