Publication details [#63559]

Wolf, Hans-Georg and Anna Finzel. 2017. Cultural conceptualizations of gender and homosexuality in BrE, IndE, and NigE. Cognitive Linguistic Studies 4 (1) : 110–130.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


With the spread of English in many parts of the world, numerous local varieties have emerged, shaped by the sociocultural contexts in which they are embedded. Hence, although English is a unifying element, these varieties express different conceptualizations that are deeply rooted in culture. For the most part, these conceptualizations come in the form of conceptual metaphors, which not only influence people's perception of the world (Lakoff & Johnson 1980), but also reveal cultural specifics of a particular society. One of the latest approaches in the field of conceptual metaphor research suggests that conceptual metaphors are actually multimodal, i.e., that they are expressed not only in language, but also, e.g., in gestures, facial expressions, sounds or images (Forceville 2009). Films are an ideal source of data for such multimodal metaphors. In the form of a pilot study, this paper applies this novel approach to metaphor to the field of World Englishes. While adding to the range of research that has already used the methodological toolbox of Cognitive Linguistics or its cognate discipline Cultural Linguistics in the investigation of the cultural dimension of varieties of English (e.g., Kövecses 1995; Liu 2002; Malcolm & Rochecouste 2000; Sharifian 2006; Wolf 2001; Wolf & Polzenhagen 2009), we provide a new exploratory angle to that investigation by using cinematic material for the analysis. Specifically, this study focuses on conceptualizations pertaining to the target domains woman and homosexuality. The data we have selected are from Great Britain, India and Nigeria, because these countries have important film industries, and British English, Indian English and Nigerian English constitute culturally distinct varieties.