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Identity through a Language Lens

Series:

Kamila Ciepiela

«This collection of articles is a sociolinguistic response to the recent explosion of scholarly interest in issues of identity. Identity is central to all human beings as we are all concerned with how to conceive of ourselves, present ourselves and comprehend our relationships with others. The book tackles the problem of how personal identity is made visible and intelligible to others through language, and how this may be constrained. Part One, Emblematic identities, focuses on the construction of self-definitions based on various forms of group identities, including national and ethnic ones. Part Two, Multicultural Identities, looks at negotiation of identities in multicultural contexts involving relations of power, drawing on examples from Europe and the Americas. Finally, Part Three, Emergent Identities, collects empirical studies based on a close reading of texts in which identities are being articulated and negotiated.» (Hanna Pułaczewska, University of Regensburg)

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Part One - EMBLEMATIC IDENTITIES

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Part One EMBLEMATIC IDENTITIES Costanza Cucchi Università Cattolica di Milano Italy LANGUAGE AND NATIONAL IDENTITY. APPLICATIONS OF HOFSTEDE’S CULTURAL DIMENSIONS Abstract: Hofstede’s cultural dimensions (Hofstede 2001; 2003) have recently been utilized for linguistic research based on the notion of national identity. Since an overview of such research is still lacking, the present paper aims to illustrate, first, how the model was applied and, secondly, to examine the correlations set forth between the cultural dimensions and language in diverse genres. Results indicate that the model was used as a predictive and as an explanatory device of communicative and micro-linguistic features in cross-linguistic studies and in English as a lingua franca. The synthesis of the correlations between the dimensions and languages offered in the paper will hopefully throw new light on the interplay between language and culture and sustain further research. Keywords: Language and culture; Cross-linguistic studies; Cross-cultural studies; ELF; Individualism; Power Distance; Uncertainty Avoidance; Masculinity 1. Introduction As Bjørge (2007: 66) rightly pointed out, “research in the field of sociology and anthropology has identified a number of cultural dimensions that distinguish national cultures”. Despite critiques, among the many existing models Hofstede’s “is the one that has been most extensively applied and validated” in various cultural contexts, probably because the dimensions he identified “have been empirically developed and verified while [other] cultural typologies […] have yet to be empirically validated” (Singh et al. 2003: 65). Hofstede’s framework is, in fact, based on a large body of data obtained through questionnaires. Starting from...

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