Cultural Linguistics: a new multidisciplinary field of research

Cultural Linguistics is a multidisciplinary area of research that explores the relationship between language, culture, and conceptualisation. This discipline is distinct from, but related to, cognitive linguistics, and is also related to other disciplines such as anthropology and cognitive psychology.

Cultural Linguistics: a new multidisciplinary field

The multidisciplinary nature of the scope of Cultural Linguistics and its relationship with other disciplines and sub-disciplines can best be diagrammatically summarised as follows:

Diagram (powerpoint)

For Cultural Linguistics, many features of human languages are entrenched in cultural conceptualisations, including cultural models.

Originally, this area grew out of an interest in integrating cognitive linguistics with the three traditions within linguistic anthropology of Boasian linguistics, ethnosemantics, and the ethnography of speaking.

In recent years, while Cultural Linguistics has maintained its interest in cognitive linguistic research’s exploration of the role of culture as a source of conceptualising experience, it has drawn on several other disciplines and sub-disciplines, such as Complexity Science, Distributed Cognition, and Cognitive Anthropology to enrich its theoretical understanding of the notion of cultural cognition.

Applications of Cultural Linguistics have enabled fruitful investigations of the cultural grounding of language in several applied domains such as World Englishes, intercultural communication, and political discourse analysis.

Research carried out within these applied areas has shed significant light on the nature of the relationship between language and culture.

Key publications in Cultural Lingusitics

From a review of “Sharifian, Farzad (2011), Cultural Conceptualisations and Language: Theoretical Framework and Applications. Philadelphia/Amsterdam: John Benjamins.”

“By drawing on and expanding the theoretical advancements and analytical tools of a number of disciplines and research paradigms, including cognitive linguistics,  anthropological linguistics, distributed cognition, complexity science, cognitive psychology, and cognitive anthropology, Sharifian lays solid theoretical and analytical grounds for what can be recognised as Cultural Linguistics. Sharifian successfully navigates the reader through a multiplicity of premises, findings and models of numerous fields of research and analytical paradigms. These are used as the foundation on which his coherent multidisciplinary approach builds, utilizing the apparatus of cognitive linguistics in the study of core areas of/in human communication.”

Alexandra Bagasheva, in Language and Cognition, Vol. 4:3 (2012), pp. 243-249.

Interested in doing a PhD in Cultural Linguistics?

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