Language and Society

Cliff Goddard*, Anna Wierzbicka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The vocabulary, grammatical structure, and usage conventions of any language are linked in innumerable ways with the social, cultural, and historical experience of its speakers. Drawing on examples from many languages, this article demonstrates the nature and range of these links. It highlights the culture-specific nature of many words, including terms for social categories, emotions, and value concepts. It explains the notion of cultural key words and the significance of lexical elaboration. In the domain of grammar, the article shows how grammatical constructions and marking may express and reflect culture-related meanings. In the realm of language in use, topics considered include discourse particles and interjections, linguistic routines, speech genres and speech styles, and broader discourse styles, demonstrating diverse ways in which language use can be related to differing cultural norms, values, and attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2015


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