Financial discourse of the 2007–2008 crisis: From unpredictability and explosion to predictability

Griselda Zárate, Homero Zambrano

Abstract


This paper aims to identify the inflection point in financial discourse, the moment of explosion and unpredictability in the 2007–2008 economic crisis, through an analysis of metaphors, and its relation to the concept of jumps in finance. The corpus is formed by articles dating from 2007–2008 published in The Wall Street Journal and related to the movements of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (S&P500) of the United States. For the purposes of this paper, two texts are analysed: “Traders in Lehman, AIG held out hope – Friday”, and the speech “Four questions about the financial crisis” by Ben S. Bernanke. What is of particular interest is the transformation of unpredictability to predictability, as incorporated in this type of discourse to indicate a predetermined chain of events, chosen from a wide spectrum of possibilities. The theoretical framework draws on Juri Lotman’s views on the concepts of explosion, unpredictability, inflection point and predictability.

Keywords


financial discourse; 2007–2008 economic crisis; unpredictability; inflection point; jumps; metaphors

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2018.46.2-3.04





SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: sss@ut.ee. Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia