The Info List - Ethnolinguistics

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Ethnolinguistics (sometimes called cultural linguistics)[1] is a field of linguistics that studies the relationship between language and culture and how different ethnic groups perceive the world. It is the combination between ethnology and linguistics. The former refers to the way of life of an entire community: all the characteristics that distinguish one community from the other. Such characteristics make the cultural aspects of a community or a society. Ethnolinguists study the way perception and conceptualization influences language and show how that is linked to different cultures and societies. An example is how spatial orientation is expressed in various cultures.[2][3] In many societies, words for the cardinal directions east and west are derived from terms for sunrise/sunset. The nomenclature for cardinal directions of Inuit speakers of Greenland, however, is based on geographical landmarks such as the river system and one's position on the coast. Similarly, the Yurok lack the idea of cardinal directions; they orient themselves with respect to their principal geographic feature, the Klamath River. Cultural Linguistics
is a related branch of linguistics that explores the relationship between language and cultural conceptualisations (Sharifian, 2011, 2017). Cultural Linguistics
draws on and expands the theoretical and analytical advancements in cognitive science (including complexity science and distributed cognition) and anthropology. Cultural linguistics examines how various features of human languages encode cultural conceptualisations, including cultural schemas, cultural categories, and cultural metaphors.[4] In Cultural Linguistics, language is viewed as deeply entrenched in the group-level, cultural cognition of communities of speakers. Thus far, the approach of Cultural Linguistics
has been adopted in several areas of applied linguistic research, including intercultural communication, second language learning, Teaching English as an International Language, and World Englishes.[5] Throughout the twentieth century, the American linguistic anthropologists, Boas, Sapir, Whorf, and Hymes had a significant influence on European schools of ethnolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. However, the first ethnolinguist was arguably Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835,) the Prussian polyglot who wrote thirty grammars of the indigenous American languages, and on Bask, Kavi, Greek, and French. It was Humboldt who coined the term Weltansicht which was translated into various tongues, and translated into English as 'worldview'. Because Humboldt insisted that the indidual becomes a human being through language, he proposed a radically new concept of language which critiqued the reduction of words to signs, and represented language as a tool. Humboldt believed we create ourselves in language, and that we create ourselves with others in speech. Humboldt argued that the true object of language study was to compare the ways we create and sustain our worldviews in language. See The Jürgen Trabant Wilhelm von Humboldt
Wilhelm von Humboldt
Lectures, https://rep.univ-rouen.fr/content/films-trabant on the REP, Rouen Ethnolinguistics Project website, https://rep.univ-rouen.fr/ See also[edit]

portal Linguistics

Anthropological linguistics Evolutionary psychology of language Linguistic anthropology Wilhelm von Humboldt Rouen Ethnolinguistics Project, https://rep.univ-rouen.fr/


^ Ferraro, Gary (2006). Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective. Cengage Learning. ISBN 0-495-10008-0.  ^ Heine, Bernd (1997) Cognitive Foundations of Grammar. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. ^ Tuan, Yi-Fu (1974) Topophilia: A study of environmental perception, attitudes, and values. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. ^ Sharifian, Farzad (2011). Cultural Conceptualisations and Language: Theoretical Framework and Applications. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. ^ Sharifian, Farzad & Palmer, Gary B. (eds.) (2007) Applied cultural linguistics: Implications for second language learning and intercultural communication. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Sharifian, Farzad (2017). Cultural Linguistics: Cultural conceptualisations and language. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Sharifian, Farzad (ed.) (2017). Advances in Cultural Linguistics. New York/London/Singapore: Springer Nature. Sharifian, Farzad (2011). Cultural Conceptualisations and Language: Theoretical Framework and Applications.

Further reading[edit]

Wierzbicka, Anna (1992) Semantics, Culture, and Cognition: Universal human concepts in culture-specific configuration. New York: Oxford University Press. Bartmiński, Jerzy. Aspects of Cognitive Ethnolinguistics. Sheffield and Oakville, CT: Equinox, 2009/2012. (en) Madeleine Mathiot (dir.), Ethnolinguistics : Boas, Sapir and Whorf revisited, Mouton, La Haye, 1979, 323 p. (ISBN 978-90-279-7597-3) (fr) Luc Bouquiaux, Linguistique et ethnolinguistique : anthologie d'articles parus entre 1961 et 2003, Peeters, Louvain, Dudley, MA, 2004, 466 p. (fr) Christine Jourdan et Claire Lefebvre (dir.), « L'ethnolinguistique », in Anthropologie et sociétés, vol. 23, no 3, 1999, p. 5-173 (fr) Bernard Pottier, L'ethnolinguistique (numéro spécial de la revue Langages), Didier, 1970, 130 p. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Trabant, Jürgen, Humboldt ou le sens du langage, Liège: Madarga, 1992.

Trabant, Jürgen, Traditions de Humboldt, (German edition 1990), French edition, Paris: Maison des sciences de l’homme, 1999. Trabant, Jürgen, Mithridates im Paradies: Kleine Geschichte des Sprachdenkens, München: Beck, 2003. Trabant, Jürgen, ‘L’antinomie linguistique: quelques enjeux politiques’, Politiques & Usages de la Langue en Europe, ed. Michael Werner, Condé-sur-Noireau: Collection du Ciera, Dialogiques, Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2007. Trabant, Jürgen, Was ist Sprache?, München: Beck, 2008. Underhill, James W., ‘ “Making” love and “having” sex: an analysis of metaphoric paradigms in English, French and Czech’, Slovo a smysl: Word and Sense, Karlova univerzita, Akademie, 2007. Underhill, James W., Humboldt, Worldview and Language, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009. Underhill, James W. Creating Worldviews, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011. Underhill, James W. Ethnolinguistics and Cultural Concepts: love, truth, hate & war, Cambridge University Press, 2012. Vocabulaire européen des philosophes, Dictionnaires des intraduisibles, ed. Barbara Cassin, Paris: Robert, 2004. Whorf, Benjamin Lee, Language, Thought and Reality: Selected Writings (1956), ed. John B. Caroll, Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1984. Wierzbicka, Anna, Semantics, Culture
and Cognition: Universal Human Concepts in Culture-Specific Configurations, New York, Oxford University Press, 1992. Wierzbicka, Anna, Understanding Cultures through their Key Words, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Wierzbicka, Anna, Emotions across Languages and Cultures, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Wierzbicka, Anna, Semantics: Primes and Universals (1996), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Wierzbicka, Anna, Experience, Evidence & Sense: The Hidden Cultural Legacy of English, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

External links[edit]

Cultural Linguistics Applied Cultural Linguistics The Jurgen Trabant Wilhelm von Humboldt
Wilhelm von Humboldt
Lectures (7hrs)

v t e


Related concepts

Clan Ethnic group

Ethnolinguistic group Ethnoreligious group

Indigenous peoples Ingroups and outgroups Meta-ethnicity Metroethnicity Minority group Monoethnicity Nation Nationality Panethnicity Polyethnicity Population Race Symbolic ethnicity Tribe


Anthropology Ethnic studies Ethnoarchaeology Ethnobiology

Ethnobotany Ethnozoology Ethnoecology

Ethnocinema Ethnogeology Ethnography

Autoethnography Clinical Critical Cyber- Netnography Online Person-centered Salvage Transidioethnography Video

Ethnohistory Ethnolinguistics Ethnology Ethnomathematics Ethnomethodology Ethnomuseology Ethnomusicology Ethnophilosophy Ethnopoetics Ethnoscience Ethnosemiotics Ethnotaxonomy

Groups by region


Arab League


Indigenous Canada Mexico United States Central America South America


Central Asia East Asia Northern Asia South Asia Southeast Asia West Asia



Europe Oceania

Indigenous European

Identity and ethnogenesis

Cross-race effect Cultural assimilation Cultural identity Demonym Development Endonym Ethnic flag Ethnic option Ethnic origin Ethnic religion Ethnicity in census Ethnofiction Ethnonym Folk religion Historical Imagined community Kinship Legendary progenitor Lineage-bonded society Mythomoteur Mores Nation-building Nation state National language National myth Origin myth Pantribal sodality Tribal name Tribalism Urheimat

Multiethnic society

Consociationalism Diaspora politics Dominant minority Ethnic democracy Ethnic enclave Ethnic interest group Ethnic majority Ethnic media Ethnic pornography Ethnic theme park Ethnoburb Ethnocracy Indigenous rights Middleman minority Minority rights Model minority Multinational state

Ideology and ethnic conflict

Ethnic bioweapon Ethnic cleansing Ethnic hatred Ethnic joke Ethnic nationalism Ethnic nepotism Ethnic penalty Ethnic slur Ethnic stereotype Ethnic violence Ethnocentrism Ethnocide Ethnosymbolism Indigenism Separatist movements Xenophobia

Authority control