International journal

Speech Genres

ISSN 2311-0759 (Online)
ISSN 2311-0740 (Print)

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Peeters B. APPLIED ETHNOLINGUISTICS is cultural linguistics, but is it CULTURAL LINGUISTICS?. Speech Genres, 2017, no. 1(15), pp. 37-50. DOI: 10.18500/2311-0740-2017-1-15-37-50

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Peeters Bert, The Australian National University

Recent years have witnessed a steady increase in occurrences of the label cultural linguistics, used to refer either to a broad field of scientific endeavor – which I suggest to call cultural linguistics (in lowercase) – or to a more narrowly defined framework within that field – which I suggest to call CULTURAL LINGUISTICS (in small capitals). The latter saw the light of day in 1996 but has become better known since Farzad Sharifian provided it with its current interdisciplinary base, replacing Gary Palmer’s term imagery with a more fitting alternative. Cultural conceptualizations are the tools CULTURAL LINGUISTICS uses to study aspects of cultural cognition and its instantiation in language. they include cultural categories, cultural metaphors, cultural schemas, and cultural models. Instances of these exist in all the languages of the world. Oddly enough, in CULTURAL LINGUISTICS, the term cultural value appears to be used rather sparingly, and not at all in a technical sense. This raises the question of whether any bridges can be built between CULTURAL LINGUISTICS, on the one hand, and APPLIED ETHNOLINGUISTICS, on the other. A recent by-product of the natural semantic metalanguage approach, APPLIED ETHNOLINGUISTICS (which is but one form of applied ethnolinguistics) was developed without reference to either CULTURAL LINGUISTICS or cultural linguistics and makes prolific use of the term cultural value, which it sees as absolutely fundamental to its endeavors. Close scrutiny reveals that, like APPLIED ETHNOLINGUISTICS, CULTURAL LINGUISTICS does acknowledge the importance of cultural values: it appears that detailed study of culturally specific categories, metaphors, schemas, and models may lead to a more precise understanding of the cultural values upheld in particular language communities. Nonetheless, there seems to be little prospect for an eventual amalgamation of the two frameworks. Rather, it is argued that APPLIED ETHNOLINGUISTICS is part of the broad field of cultural linguistics (lowercase), where, together with CULTURAL LINGUISTICS (small capitals), it is able to provide a useful methodology for the study of language and cultural values.


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