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International Journal of Language and Culture

image of International Journal of Language and Culture
ISSN 2214-3157
E-ISSN 2214-3165

<p>The aim of the International Journal of Language and Culture (IJoLC) is to disseminate cutting-edge research that explores the interrelationship between language and culture. The journal is multidisciplinary in scope and seeks to provide a forum for researchers interested in the interaction between language and culture across several disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, applied linguistics, psychology and cognitive science. The journal publishes high-quality, original and state-of-the-art articles that may be theoretical or empirical in orientation and that advance our understanding of the intricate relationship between language and culture. IJoLC is a peer-reviewed journal published twice a year.</p> <p>Topics of interest to IJoLC include, but are not limited to the following: Culture and the structure of language; Language, culture, and conceptualisation; Language, culture, and politeness; Language, culture, and emotion; Culture and language development; Language, culture, and communication.</p>

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  • The story of “Danish Happiness”: Global discourse and local semantics
    • Author: Carsten Levisen
    • Source: International Journal of Language and Culture, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2014, pages: 174 –193
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    • According to a new global narrative, the Danes are the happiest people in the world. This paper takes a critical look at the international media discourse of “happiness”, tracing its roots and underlying assumptions. Equipped with the Natural Semantic Metalanguage approach to linguistic and cultural analysis, a new in-depth semantic analysis of the story of “Danish happiness” is developed. It turns out that the allegedly happiest people on earth do not (usually) talk and think about life in terms of ”happiness”, but rather through a different set of cultural concepts and scripts, all guided by the Danish cultural keyword lykke. The semantics of lykke is explicated along with two related concepts livsglæde, roughly, ‘life joy’ and livslyst ‘life pleasure’, and based on semantic and ethnopragmatic analysis, a set of lykke-related cultural scripts is provided. With new evidence from Danish, it is argued that global Anglo-International “happiness discourse” misrepresents local meanings and values, and that the one-sided focus on “happiness across nations” in the social sciences is in dire need of cross-linguistic confrontation. The paper calls for a post-happiness turn in the study of words and values across languages, and for a new critical awareness of linguistic and conceptual biases in Anglo-international discourse.
  • “Pain” and “suffering” in cross-linguistic perspective
    • Author: Anna Wierzbicka
    • Source: International Journal of Language and Culture, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2014, pages: 149 –173
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    • This paper builds on findings of the author’s 1999 book Emotions Across Languages and Cultures: Diversity and Universals, which tentatively identified eleven universals pertaining to human emotions. The paper probes some of those “emotional universals” further, especially in relation to ‘laughing’, ‘crying’, and ‘pain’. At the same time, the author continues her campaign against pseudo-universals, focussing in particular on the anthropological and philosophical discourse of “suffering”. The paper argues for the Christian origins of the concept of “suffering” lexically embodied in European languages, and contrasts it with the Buddhist concept of ‘dukkha’, usually rendered in Anglophone discussions of Buddhism with the word suffering.
  • Society and culture as container: (Re-)drawing borders and their metaphorical foundation from a communicative and extracommunicative point of view
    • Author: Ulrike Schröder
    • Source: International Journal of Language and Culture, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 38 –61
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    • Within the social sciences and humanities, especially in the field of cultural studies, research has increasingly been dealing with the dissolution of cultural and social boundaries. However, the question of how interactants perceive themselves and construct and describe their interaction space in a certain ‘culture’ or ‘society’ can only be answered empirically. In this regard, the methodological framework of cognitive metaphor theory has proven to be facilitative. From a cognitive semantics point of view, metaphors by no means refer to an external world in a descriptive sense, but are important mediators between cognition and language, as well as between the individual and society. On the basis of two research projects — one on the metaphorical construction of society in German and Brazilian written and spoken corpora, and another on filmed intercultural interactions in the context of an ongoing research — it will be revealed how participants in communication use culture-specific metaphorizations when localizing themselves and others. In addition, the role of animated ‘compound image schemas’, such as container, outside-inside and up-down, will be explored at the linguistic as well as the gestural level when functioning as ‘patterns of orientation’ and ‘meaning formulas’. While from a communicative-participative perspective such schemas serve to reduce complexity, they are also highly significant from the participants’ own extracommunicative-reflexive point of view where interpretations regarding divergent behavioral patterns are concerned.
  • Emotion recognition ability in English among L1 and LX users of English
    • Authors: Pernelle Lorette, and Jean-Marc Dewaele
    • Source: International Journal of Language and Culture, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 62 –86
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    • This article focuses on individual differences in emotion recognition ability among 356 first language (L1) and 564 foreign language (LX) users of English. Recognizing emotions can be particularly challenging in LX contexts. Depending on their linguistic profile, individuals may interpret input very differently, and LX learners and users have been found to perform significantly worse than native control groups (Rintell 1984) in tests of emotion recognition ability. In the present article, we investigate the effect of three independent variables, namely, L1 versus LX status, proficiency in English, and cultural background, on emotion recognition ability. We used an online survey in which participants had to identify the emotion portrayed by a native English-speaking actress in six audiovisual clips. Despite LX users having lower proficiency scores, English L1 users and LX users’ emotion recognition ability scores were broadly similar. A significant positive relationship was found between LX proficiency and emotion recognition ability. A similar but only marginally significant relationship emerged among L1 users. A significant effect of L1 culture was found on emotion recognition ability scores, with Asian LX users scoring significantly lower than European LX users. It thus seems that audiovisual input allows advanced LX users to recognize emotions in LX as well as L1 users. That said, LX proficiency and L1 culture do have an effect on emotion recognition ability.
  • Exploring “happiness” and “pain” across languages and cultures
    • Authors: Cliff Goddard, and Zhengdao Ye
    • Source: International Journal of Language and Culture, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2014, pages: 131 –148
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    • This paper argues that the cross-linguistic study of subjective experience as expressed, described and construed in language cannot be set on a sound footing without the aid of a systematic and non-Anglocentric approach to lexical semantic analysis. This conclusion follows from two facts, one theoretical and one empirical. The first is the crucial role of language in accessing and communicating about feelings. The second is the demonstrated existence of substantial, culture-related differences between the meanings of emotional expressions in the languages of the world. We contend that the NSM approach to semantic and cultural analysis (Wierzbicka 1996; Gladkova 2010; Levisen 2012; Goddard 2011; Goddard and Wierzbicka 2014a; Wong 2014; among other works) provides the necessary conceptual and analytical framework to come to grips with these facts. This is demonstrated in practice by the studies of “happiness-like” and “pain-like” expressions across eight languages, undertaken in the present volume. At the same time as probing the precise meanings of these expressions, the authors provide extensive cultural contextualization, showing in some detail how the meanings they are analyzing are truly “cultural meanings”. The project exemplified by the volume can also be read as a linguistically-anchored contribution to cultural psychology (Shweder 2004, 2003), the quest to understand and appreciate the mental life of others in a full spirit of psychological pluralism.
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