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Culture, Body, and Language

Conceptualizations of Internal Body Organs across Cultures and Languages

Edited by: Farzad Sharifian, René Dirven, Ning Yu,  and Susanne Niemeier
One of the central themes in cognitive linguistics is the uniquely human development of some higher potential called the "mind" and, more particularly, the intertwining of body and mind, which has come to be known as embodiment. Several books and volumes have explored this theme in length. However, the interaction between culture, body and language has not received the due attention that it deserves. Naturally, any serious exploration of the interface between body, language and culture would require an analytical tool that would capture the ways in which different cultural groups conceptualize their feelings, thinking, and other experiences in relation to body and language. A well-established notion that appears to be promising in this direction is that of cultural models, constituting the building blocks of a group's cultural cognition. The volume results from an attempt to bring together a group of scholars from various language backgrounds to make a collective attempt to explore the relationship between body, language and culture by focusing on conceptualizations of the heart and other internal body organs across a number of languages. The general aim of this venture is to explore (a) the ways in which internal body organs have been employed in different languages to conceptualize human experiences such as emotions and/or workings of the mind, and (b) the cultural models that appear to account for the observed similarities as well as differences of the various conceptualizations of internal body organs. The volume as a whole engages not only with linguistic analyses of terms that refer to internal body organs across different languages but also with the origin of the cultural models that are associated with internal body organs in different cultural systems, such as ethnomedical and religious traditions. Some contributions also discuss their findings in relations to some philosophical doctrines that have addressed the relationship between mind, body, and language, such as that of Descartes.

Author Information

Farzad Sharifian, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; René Dirven, University of Duisburg, Germany; Ning Yu, University of Oklahoma, USA; Susanne Niemeier, Univeristät Koblenz-Landau, Germany.
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Audience: Cognitive Linguists, Academic Libraries, Institutes

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