Culture-specific metonymic relations in the conceptual system: On cognitive linguistic attitude research: Lisa Vollmar
Culture-specific metonymic relations in the conceptual system: On cognitive linguistic attitude research
Lisa Vollmar (Heidelberg)
Traditionally, the study of language attitudes and language habits has been connected to sociological studies, in which language is regarded as a social phenomenon and language attitudes as extralinguistic factors that influence linguistic choices. Although sociolinguistic studies on World Englishes have been extended by cognitive linguistic researchers over recent years, to the best of my knowledge attitudes towards the English language in non-native contexts have not yet been studied against the background of cognitive linguistics (CL). This circumstance is remarkable. As I show in this paper, exploring second-language (L2) attitudes involves many central concepts of CL approaches, such as cultural conceptualisations and cultural models, prototypicality, linguistic and social categories, linguistic and social stereotypes, and, as highlighted in the following, metonymic relations in the conceptual system. I am specifically concerned with two key assumptions: (i) Culture-specific conceptualisations are traceable in language attitudes; (ii) Language attitudes are metonymically grounded in the conceptual system.
In order to support these premises empirically, I conducted research on attitudes towards the English language in Ghana.1 My study follows the CL key claim that language, in the present case an L2-variety of English, carries and transmits the socio-cultural background of its speakers. A second, closely related stance is that language attitudes are part of the mental representation of a respective language.
In the first part of my paper, the theoretical approaches underlying my study...