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Cultural Linguistics Applied

Trends, Directions and Implications


Edited By Arne Peters and Neele Mundt

This book offers a range of empirically-based case studies in the field of cultural linguistics and neighbouring disciplines such as intercultural pragmatics and language pedagogy. The first section explores intercultural communication and cross-linguistic/cross-cultural investigations in settings such as Brazil, Nigeria, Cameroon, Tanzania, Morocco, France and Canada. The second section focuses on applications of cultural linguistics in the field of foreign language teaching. By drawing on English as a Foreign Language and English as a Second Language contexts, the case studies presented further examine the ramification of cultural linguistics in the language classroom, enabling a better understanding of culture-specific conceptual differences between learners’ first and target language(s).

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Cultural linguistics applied: Status quo and new directions (Neele Mundt and Arne Peters)


Neele Mundt and Arne Peters

Cultural linguistics applied: Status quo and new directions

1.Directions in (applied) cultural linguistics

Cultural linguistics is a relatively young and innovative academic discipline, adopting the language-thought-culture paradigm by focusing on language and culture-specific conceptualisations. The relationship between language, thought and culture has been firmly established as a research field since Palmer’s (1996) Theory Towards Cultural Linguistics, in which he argues that ‘linguistic meaning is subsumed within world view’. However, such reflections on the entanglement of language, culture and thought already date back to the German linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835), who refers to the idea of ‘Weltansicht’ [world view] linked to each language. In this vein, Franz Boas (1858–1942) further outlines ‘the function of language in organising our experience of the sensible world, emphasising particularly its classification function’ (Foley 1997: 194). Against the backdrop of the Boasian tradition, the principle of Linguistic Relativity emerged, describing that ‘users of markedly different grammars are pointed by their grammars towards different types of observations and different evaluations of externally similar acts of observation’ (Whorf 1956: 221). Hence, linguistic relativity assumes that the natural as well as cultural environment is reflected in and through language. Taking these traditional approaches into consideration, it becomes evident that there is a rather long tradition aiming to explore the language-thought-culture paradigm; even though ‘a unified subdiscipline focusing on the relationship between language and culture has never been fully developed’ (Sharifian 2017a: 1).


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