An Embodied View of Linguaculture

  • Joseph ShaulesEmail author


This chapter explores the relationship between language, culture, and cognition. It looks at contrasting ways to conceptualize linguistic meaning: (1) linguistic meaning as symbols or labels that reflect universal cognitive processes and (2) the idea that language reflects meaning particular to different cultural communities. It discusses insights from neurolinguistics, which reveal that linguistic meaning is not localized in a single place in the brain, and that the meaning of individual words is spread through regions of the brain responsible for different semantic categories. This implies that learning a foreign language requires more than new labels to attach to existing thoughts or concepts. It introduces embodied simulation theory, which hypothesizes that linguistic meaning is not primarily a manipulation of symbols, but an embodied re-creation of lived experience. From the perspective of embodied simulation theory, linguistic meaning is grounded in experience and thus rooted in the shared experience of cultural communities. In short, linguistic meaning is cultural by its very nature.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Japan Intercultural InstituteTokyoJapan

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