Publication details [#59601]

Peeters, Bert. 2015. Tall poppies in the land down under. An applied ethnolinguistic approach. International Journal of Language and Culture 2 (2) : 219–243.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Most EFL curricula, irrespective of the variety of English they seek to impart, have little time for cultural values, focusing instead on “Culture with a capital C,” i.e., history, geography, cultural heritage, folklore, etc. Applied ethnolinguistics is a relatively new framework that has been developed to curb the trend. It consists of a number of pathways that can be replicated by advanced language students eager to increase their awareness of potentially unfamiliar cultural values. One of the pathways, ethnorhetorics (the study of culturally salient figures of speech), will be illustrated here with data drawn from Australian English. The focus will be on the tall poppy metaphor. A few hints at its cultural salience and a brief look at where tall poppies are typically found will be followed by a more linguistically oriented analysis. On the basis of the evidence gathered, this paper will formulate a hypothesis about cultural values which (at least from the students’ point of view) is in need of further corroboration. This requires a different pathway, known as ethnoaxiology, which will not be illustrated in this paper; a few pointers will be provided instead.