On the complicated relationship between (Irish) culture and language

Brian Nolan


In this paper we examine the nature of the relationship between culture and language, and its complexity, and how culture informs language usage. Our cultural sense entails our knowledge about cultural norms, beliefs and values of human society, a community, and our generalised knowledge about the language system that we use in our social and communicative interactions. Therefore, our cultural knowledge includes ontology, representation, reasoning, cultural schemata, cultural metaphors and cultural conceptualisations. Many artists (painters and poets) use language in the service of their art, and visual artists frequently use text directly in paintings as a cultural visual-linguistic semiotic.

The hypothesis in this research study is that meaning in culture is facilitated by language and that language draws on cultural common ground while the cognitive processes that retrieve a meaning from language use are argues to be those characterised within Relevance Theory. Additionally, we argue that these cognitive processes also apply to retrieving meaning from art, music, poetry, and artefacts within the linguistic landscape.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3311/ope.286


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