International journal

Speech Genres

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

For citation:

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

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0).
Full text:
(downloads: 174)
Article type: 


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.


1. Anusiewicz, J. (1995). Lingwistyka kulturowa. Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego.

2. Athanasiadou, A. (2013). Review of Sharifian (2011b). Cognitive Linguistics, 24, 579–588.

3. Babai Shishavan, H., & Sharifian, F. (2013). Refusal strategies in L1 and L2: A study of Persian-speaking learners of English. Multilingua, 32, 801–836.

4. Babai Shishavan, H., & Sharifian, F. (2016). The refusal speech act in a cross-cultural perspective: A study of Iranian English-language learners and Anglo-Australian speakers. Language & Communication, 47, 75–88.

5. Bagasheva, A. (2012). Review of Sharifian (2011b). Language and Cognition, 4, 243–249.

6. Bartmiński, J. (2009). Aspects of cognitive ethnolinguistics. London: Equinox.

7. Béal, C. (1993). Les stratégies conversationnelles en français et en anglais: Conventions ou reflet de divergences culturelles profondes? Langue Française, 98, 79–106.

8. Feather, N. T. (1996). Values, deservingness, and attitudes toward high achievers: Research in tall poppies. In C. Seligman, J. M. Olson, & M. P. Zanna (Eds.), The psychology of values: The Ontario Symposium, vol. 8 (pp. 215–251). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

9. Fortis, J.-M. (2012). Introduction [to a special issue titled La linguistique cognitive: Histoire et épistémologie]. Histoire Épistémologie Langage, 34, 5–17.

10. Geeraerts, D. (2006). Cognitive Linguistics: Basic readings. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

11.Geeraerts, D., & Cuyckens, H. (Eds.). (2007). The Oxford handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

12. Gladkova, A. (2015). Ethnosyntax. In F. Sharifian (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of language and culture (pp. 33–50). New York: Routledge.

13. Głaz, A. (Forthcoming). Promoting dialogue: Two traditions in language and culture research. In J. Ziobro-Strzępek & W. Chłopicki (Eds.), Across borders: The West looks East. Krosno: PWSZ.

14. Goddard, C. (2002). Ethnosyntax, ethnopragmatics, sign-functions, and culture. In N. J. Enfield (Ed.), Ethnosyntax: Explorations in grammar and culture (pp. 52–73). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

15. Goddard, C. (2006). Ethnopragmatics: Understanding discourse in cultural context. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

16. Goddard, C. (2011). Semantic analysis: A practical introduction (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

17. Goddard, C., & Wierzbicka, A. (2007). Semantic primes and cultural scripts in language learning and intercultural communication. In F. Sharifian & G. B. Palmer (Eds.), Applied cultural linguistics (pp. 105–124). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

18. Goddard, C., & Ye, Z. (2015). Ethnopragmatics. In F. Sharifian (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of language and culture (pp. 66–83). New York: Routledge.

19. Janda, L. A. (2008). From Cognitive Linguistics to Cultural Linguistics. Slovo a Smysl, 8, 48–68. Retrieved from

20. Janda, L. A. (2009). Quantitative methods for cultural linguistics. In Ročenka Textů Zahraničních Profesorů / The Annual of Texts by Foreign Guest Professors, 3, 203–215. Prague: Charles University.

21. Langacker, R. W. (1994). Culture, cognition, and grammar. In M. Pütz (Ed.), Language contact and language conflict (pp. 25–53). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

22. Levisen, C., & Waters, S. (2015). Lige, a Danish ‘magic word’? An ethnopragmatic analysis. International Journal of Language and Culture, 2, 244–268.

23. Littlemore, J., & Taylor, J. R. (Eds.). (2014). The Bloomsbury companion to Cognitive Linguistics. London: Bloomsbury.

24. Malcolm, I. G. (2007). Cultural Linguistics and bidialectal education. In F. Sharifian & G. B. Palmer (Eds.), Applied cultural linguistics (pp. 53–63). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

25. Palmer, G. B. (1996). Toward a theory of Cultural Linguistics. Austin: University of Texas Press.

26. Palmer, G. B. (2003). Cultural Linguistics and Shona noun classifiers. AlterNation, 10, 63–86.

27. Palmer, G. B. (2003). Introduction [to a special issue on thinking across languages and cultures]. Cognitive Linguistics, 14(2/3), 97–108.

28. Palmer, G. B. (2006). When does Cognitive Linguistics become cultural? Case studies in Tagalog voice and Shona noun classifiers. In J. Luchjenbroers (Ed.), Cognitive Linguistics investigations: Across languages, fields and philosophical boundaries (pp. 13–45). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

29. Palmer, G. B. (2015). Ethnography: A neglected method of inductive linguistics. Etnolingwistyka, 27, 21–45. doi:10.17951/et.2015.27.21

30. Peeters, B. (1998). Cognitive musings [Review article of R. A. Geiger & B. Rudzka-Ostyn (Eds.). (1993). Conceptualizations and mental processing in language. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter]. Word, 49, 225–237.

31. Peeters, B. (2001). Does Cognitive Linguistics live up to its name? In R. Dirven, B. Hawkins, & E. Sandikcioglu (Eds.), Language and ideology, vol. 1: Theoretical cognitive approaches (pp. 83–106). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

32. Peeters, B. (2009). Language and cultural values: The ethnolinguistic pathways model. Fulgor, 4(1), 59–73. Retrieved from

33. Peeters, B. (2010). “Un X peut en cacher un autre”: Étude ethnosyntaxique. In F. Neveu, V. Muni Toke, T. Klingler, J. Durand, L. Mondada, & S. Prévost (Eds.), CMLF 2010–2ème Congrès mondial de linguistique française (pp. 1753–1775). Paris: EDP Sciences. doi: 10.1051/cmlf/2010056

34. Peeters, B. (2013). Ah méfiance, quand tu tiens la France… Cahiers de Praxématique, 60–61. Retrieved from

35. Peeters, B. (2013). La langue de bois: Un pèlerinage ethnolexicologique. In P. Marillaud & R. Gauthier (Eds.), La mauvaise parole: 33e Colloque d’Albi Langages et Signification (pp. 196–210). Albi/Toulouse: CALS/CPST.

36. Peeters, B. (2013). Language and cultural values: Towards an applied ethnolinguistics for the foreign language classroom. In B. Peeters, K. Mullan, & C. Béal (Eds.), Cross-culturally speaking, speaking cross-culturally (pp. 231–259). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

37. Peeters, B. (2013c). Râler, râleur, râlite: Discours, langue et valeurs culturelles. In C. Claudel, P. von Münchow, M. Pordeus Ribeiro, F. Pugnière-Saavedra, & G. Tréguer-Felten (Eds.), Cultures, discours, langues: Nouveaux abordages (pp. 117–141). Limoges: Lambert-Lucas.

38. Peeters, B. (2014). “C’est pas ma faute”: Analyse ethnophraséologique. In A.-M. Cozma, A. Bellachhab, & M. Pescheux (Eds.), Du sens à la signification. De la signification aux sens: Mélanges offerts à Olga Galatanu (pp. 313–328). Bruxelles: Peter Lang.

39. Peeters, B. (2014). On va s’arranger / On s’arrangera: Étude ethnophraséologique de deux actes (généralement) rassurants. Scolia, 28, 129–149.

40. Peeters, B. (2015). Bienvenue au café du Commerce: propos ethnorhétoriques. Publif@rum, 23. Retrieved from

41. Peeters, B. (2015). La France de la débrouille: Étude ethnoaxiologique d’une valeur culturelle hypothétique. Revue de Sémantique et Pragmatique, 37, 103–122.

42. Peeters, B. (2015). Language, culture and values: Towards an ethnolinguistics based on abduction and salience. Etnolingwistyka, 27, 47–62. doi:10.17951/et.2015.27.47

43. Peeters, B. (2015). Tall poppies in the land down under: An applied ethnolinguistic approach. International Journal of Language and Culture, 2, 219–243.

44. Peeters, B. (Ed.). (2015). Language and cultural values: Adventures in applied ethnolinguistics [International Journal of Language and Culture, 2(2)]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

45. Sharifian, F. (2003). On cultural conceptualisations. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 3(3), 187–207.

46. Sharifian, F. (2004). Cultural schemas and intercultural communication: A study of Persian. In J. Leigh & E. Loo (Eds.), Outer limits: A reader in communication across cultures (pp. 119–130). Melbourne: Language Australia.

47. Sharifian, F. (2005). The Persian cultural schema of shekasteh-nafsi: A study of complement responses in Persian and Anglo-Australian speakers. Pragmatics & Cognition, 13, 337–361.

48.Sharifian, F. (2007). Aboriginal language habitat and cultural continuity. In G. Leitner & I. G. Malcolm (Eds.), The habitat of Australia’s aboriginal languages: Past, present, and future (pp. 181–196). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

49. Sharifian, F. (2007). L1 cultural conceptualisations in L2 learning: The case of Persian-speaking learners of English. In F. Sharifian & G. B. Palmer (Eds.), Applied cultural linguistics (pp. 33–51). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

50. Sharifian, F. (2008). Distributed, emergent cultural cognition, conceptualisation, and language. In R. M. Frank, R. Dirven, T. Ziemke, & E. Bernárdez (Eds.), Body, language, and mind, vol. 2: Sociocultural situatedness (pp. 109–136). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

51. Sharifian, F. (2009). On collective cognition and language. In H. Pishwa (Ed.), Language and social cognition: Expression of the social mind (pp. 163–180). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

52. Sharifian, F. (2011). Cultural conceptualizations and language: Theoretical framework and applications. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

53. Sharifian, F. (2011). Cultural linguistics: Inaugural professorial lecture. Melbourne: Monash University.

54. Sharifian, F. (2012). Linguistic theory and cultural conceptualisations. Journal of Language, Culture, and Translation, 1(3), 93–110.

55. Sharifian, F. (2013). Cultural conceptualisations in learning English as an L2: Examples from Persian-speaking learners. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 1, 90–116.

56. Sharifian, F. (2014). Advances in Cultural Linguistics. In M. Yamaguchi, D. Tay, & B. Blount (Eds.), Approaches to language, culture and cognition: The intersection of cognitive linguistics and linguistic anthropology (pp. 99–123). London: Palgrave McMillan.

57. Sharifian, F. (2015). Cultural Linguistics and World Englishes. World Englishes, 34(4), 515–532. doi:10.1111/weng.12156

58. Sharifian, F. (2015). Cultural Linguistics. In F. Sharifian (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of language and culture (pp. 473–492). New York: Routledge.

59. Sharifian, F., & Jamarani, M. (2011). Cultural schemas in intercultural communication: A study of the Persian cultural schema of sharmandegi ‘being ashamed’. Intercultural Pragmatics, 8, 227–251.

60. Sharifian, F., & Jamarani, M. (2013). Cultural conceptualisations and translating political discourse. In A. Rojo & I. Ibarretxe-Antuñano (Eds.), Cognitive Linguistics and translation: Advances in some theoretical models and applications (pp. 339–371). Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.

61. Sharifian, F., & Palmer, G. B. (Eds.). (2007). Applied cultural linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

62. Stoetzel, J. (1983). Les valeurs du temps présent: Une enquête européenne. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

63. Taylor, J. R. (1993). Some pedagogical implications of cognitive linguistics. In R. A. Geiger & B. Rudzka-Ostyn (Eds.), Conceptualizations and mental processing in language (pp. 201–223). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

64. Taylor, J. R. (2002). Cognitive grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

65. Taylor, J. R. (2008). Some pedagogical implications of cognitive linguistics. In S. De Knop & T. De Rycker (Eds.), Cognitive approaches to pedagogical grammar: A volume in honour of René Dirven (pp. 37–65). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

66. Wierzbicka, A. (2003). Cross-cultural pragmatics: The semantics of human interaction (2nd ed.). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Wierzbicka, A. (2010). Cultural scripts and intercultural communication. In A. Trosborg (Ed.), Pragmatics across languages and cultures (pp. 43–78). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Wierzbicka, A. (2010). Cultural scripts. In L. Cummings (Ed.), The pragmatics encyclopedia (pp. 92–95). London: Routledge.