Talk Decoded is a blog created by Dr. Anna Szilagyi, a multilingual expert in media, politics, and communication. The blog discusses how political rhetoric influences thinking and behavior across the globe. Focusing on the linguistics of politics, Talk Decoded introduces how language is used as a tool, intentionally or unintentionally, by political actors and the media to shape the ideas and actions of the public. 

Anna explores the effects of political and media discourses in different geopolitical contexts. She is an award-winning journalist who worked twelve years for major media organizations in her native Hungary. Anna’s first-hand experiences in journalism have been important in inspiring her research. She has an insider’s understanding of how the media industry operates both in general and in transitional, semi-democratic settings in particular.

Combining knowledge and skills from different fields in her scholarly work, Anna explores a wide range of phenomena, including the rhetorical mechanisms of political manipulation; the linguistic means of discrimination; the local perceptions of global entities; the constructions of gender roles in political speech; the symptoms of verbal offense and abuse in everyday life. 

Anna’s research is not only interdisciplinary but also cross-cultural. Speaking Hungarian, Russian, and English and having lived in different localities — including Hungary, Russia, and Hong Kong — Anna has developed a context-dependent perspective. She studies media and political discourses in Eastern and Western Europe, Southeast Asia, Russia, and the United States. Anna is also interested in how China, as a booming global power, is perceived outside its borders. Her research concerns the global images of Chinese and Jewish people as well.

Anna’s writings have appeared in international academic books and journals. She is also eager to contribute with her expertise to important public causes. Most recently, Anna developed “Linguistic Self-Defense Guide Against Antisemitism” which was published in English, French, Greek, and Hungarian as part of the pan-European “Get the Trolls Out!” campaign. 

Joy Lau is a co-founder of Talk Decoded, a cartoonist, and a former architect in New York City. Her illustrations on Talk Decoded aim to provide visual summaries for the complex topics in each article. Joy also has an online comic book photonovela series, Lonesome Cowgirl Comics, that touches upon various themes such as Mexican-American inter-generational strife along the southern border of the U.S., feelings of displacement in a large city, families affected by border economics, the lingering effects of NAFTA, the dangerous toll of maquiladora factories, and other social issues.