Culture and Language in Interaction
Brian Nolan [+]
Technological University Dublin (retired)
Chapter 10 examines Culture and language in interaction. We look at language in culture, art and artefact, and find that there are several ways in which visual artists use words or text in visual art. Words can be used explicitly when they are included in, or on, the visual artwork. We are all familiar with this explicit use of words within medieval art where the words assume a core prominent position. In particular, medieval illuminated manuscripts are a key example of an art form that relies on the cohesive interdependence of graphics and language where words and image contribute equally to the overall reading. In visual art forms, the explicit words are easily recognised, and are widely accepted while generally understood in virtue of the contribution they make. Indeed, as a more contemporary example, we can consider pop art and MEMEs where words are used as a visual semiotic linguistic device that has a cohesive interdependence with the images displayed. We focus on an empirical analysis and characterisation of elements of the Irish cultural narrative. In this, we are again concerned with the relationship between culture and language, and how culture informs language usage. We posit that common ground mediates this relationship in important and complex ways. We examine the application of language in the service of culture, and how we relate to our world through language. Using authentic data (art, artefact, linguistic landscape, and language), we present empirical case studies of facets of culture as a systemic model whose dimensions encompass culture, worldview, common ground, and language. Specifically, as case studies, we examine and analyse: a) the conceptualisation of the cultural schema for the celebration of the Joycean Bloomsday in Dublin, as a language related ritual, and its connection with the linguistic landscape, and b) the cultural pragmatic schema and pragmeme of ‘offers and refusal’ relating to tea drinking in an Irish social interaction context. Overall, in the characterisation of elements of a particular cultural narrative, we apply a functional-cognitive approach sensitive to cultural issues.