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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.
  • Language and cultural values: Adventures in applied ethnolinguistics
  • The Trinidadian ‘Theory of Mind’: Personhood and postcolonial semantics
    • Authors: Carsten Levisen, and Melissa Reshma Jogie
    • Source: International Journal of Language and Culture, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2015, pages: 169 –193
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    • In this paper, we study the cultural semantics of the personhood construct mind in Trinidadian creole. We analyze the lexical semantics of the word and explore the wider cultural meanings of the concept in contrastive comparison with the Anglo concept. Our analysis demonstrates that the Anglo concept is a cognitively oriented construct with a semantic configuration based on ‘thinking’ and ‘knowing’, whereas the Trinidadian mind is a moral concept configured around perceptions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. We further explore the Trinidadian moral discourse of bad mind and good mind, and articulate a set of cultural scripts for the cultural values linked with personhood in the Trinidadian context. Taking a postcolonial approach to the semantics of personhood, we critically engage with Anglo-international discourses of the mind, exposing the conceptual stranglehold of the colonial language (i.e., English) and its distorting semantic grip on global discourse. We argue that creole categories of values and personhood — such as the Trinidadian concept of mind — provide a new venue for critical mind studies as well as for new studies in creole semantics and cultural diversity.
  • 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.
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