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Cultural Semantics and Social Cognition

A Case Study on the Danish Universe of Meaning

Presenting original, detailed studies of keywords of Danish, this book breaks new ground for the study of language and cultural values. Based on evidence from the semantic categories of everyday language, such as the Danish concept of hygge (roughly meaning, ‘pleasant togetherness’), the book provides an integrative socio-cognitive framework for studying and understanding language-particular universes. It is argued that the worlds we live in are not linguistically and conceptually neutral, but rather that speakers who live by Danish concepts are likely to pay attention to their world in ways suggested by central Danish keywords and lexical grids. By means of a sophisticated semantic methodology, the author accounts for the meanings of even highly culture-specific and untranslatable linguistic concepts. The book offers new tools for comparative research into the diversity of semantic and cultural systems in contemporary Europe. Additionally, it contributes to the emerging discipline of cultural semantics, and to the ongoing debates of linguistic diversity, metalanguage, and the use of linguistic evidence in studies of culture and social cognition.

Author Information

Carsten Levisen, Aarhus University, Denmark.

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Audience: Research Libraries, Researchers and Advanced Students with an Interest in the Field of Scandinavian Languages

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