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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Emotion language has been the object of intensive study in recent years, both in cognitive linguistics and in anthropology. Cognitive and anthropological linguists are struggling to parse out the influences of heredity, basic experience, and culture on semantics. This article focuses on the intersection of cultural knowledge with the semantic component of cognitive grammar. It examines research in two broad semantic domains: agency and emotion and spatial orientation. There is no presumption that these categories have folk or emic status in other languages; their status is merely analytic. In actual case studies, one seeks to discover how speakers themselves delineate their semantic domains. One can think of other semantic domains that linguists and anthropologists have studied, from kinship and illness to botany, anatomy, and the earmarkings of reindeer. This article discusses new approaches and findings in each of the selected domains that offer promise for anthropological linguistics. It focuses on studies demonstrating strong interdependencies between grammar and culture, but shows that the findings do not support a strong Whorfian position on the determination of perception by grammar.

Keywords: cognitive linguistics, anthropological linguistics, cognitive grammar, culture, agency, emotion, spatial orientation, perception, anthropology, semantics

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