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Cultural Linguistics Applied

Trends, Directions and Implications

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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 perceptions of diseases and the nomenclatures of HIV, AIDS and Ebola in the Igbo language (Herbert Igboanusi)

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Herbert Igboanusi

Cultural perceptions of diseases and the nomenclatures of HIV, AIDS and Ebola in the Igbo language

1.Introduction

Culture has a great influence on health. It affects perceptions of diseases – their causes, treatment, prevention, management and attitudes towards diseases and people living with such conditions. Some diseases or conditions are stigmatised because of the impact of culture on health. In Nigeria, for example, sexually transmitted diseases are stigmatised because sex is not to be discussed openly. Similarly, in many African countries, sex-related discourses continue to be regarded as a taboo (see e.g. Safotso 2017; Batibo and Kopi 2008). Many sick people seek help from spiritualists or native healers rather than go to conventional hospitals for diagnosis and treatment mainly due to cultural influences. In some parts of northern Nigeria, people reject certain vaccinations (such as the Polio vaccination) because of certain cultural and religious beliefs. One of such beliefs is that having such vaccinations is a ploy by Christians or the West to control the rising population of Muslims. In the same vein, some Nigerians claim to be ‘strong’ when they are in fact sick. Being sick is hidden from people because certain sicknesses are believed to have been inflicted on people by their ‘enemies’. Similarly, some diseases are often blamed on supernatural causes – attributable to the wrath of God, punishment for past sins or abominations, the handiwork of enemies, witches and wizards, evil spirits, sleeping with another man’s or woman’s spouse and...

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