Cultural grammar and the cultural linguistics heritage from the pre-Millennials
An argument for scenarios
While the newly arriving Millennial generation of cultural linguists was maturing, Boomers and Generation Xer’s were developing a theory of cognitive linguistics in an environment hostile to both induction and science. Two decades of mechanical deductive models from the intellectual (not political) right were followed by two more decades of linguistic subversion of science from the postmodernist left. In spite of these astringent intellectual currents, inductive linguistic science thrived in the last two decades of the 20th Century and attracted attention from other disciplines, including anthropology, philosophy, psychology, and ESL. The branch that we call cognitive linguistics did so largely by investigating imagery, usage, symbolic networks, and systems of metaphor. Some researchers from the social and linguistic sciences found it useful to shift the focus away from the universal imagistic attentional processes employed by cognitive linguists and over to culturally defined sources of imagery. This resulted in the retooling of linguistic relativism under the rubric of cultural linguistics just as the first Millennials were entering grad schools at the advent of the 21st century. In addition to motivating cross-linguistic and cross-cultural studies of metaphors and cultural models, the shift has been productive in revealing links between culture, ideology, and grammar. It is argued that the single most pregnant and distinguishing concept in cultural linguistics is that of the scenario, and it is hoped that the Millennial generation will continue to develop and employ it in cross-linguistic studies. In this paper we demonstrate its application to cultural grammar.
Keywords: cultural grammar, cultural linguistics, Scenario, discourse, ideology, subjectivity
Published online: 18 May 2018
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