Cultural conceptualisations of language and country in Australian Indigenous languages

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This article presents a Cultural Linguistics perspective on the enduring and multifaceted relationship between people, language and country in Indigenous Australia. It builds on a substantial body of work in Cultural Linguistics that has examined the cultural conceptualisations present in Aboriginal English, but shifts the focus to exploring how such conceptualisations are also encoded in ancestral Indigenous languages. The article provides linguistic and ethnographic data from a number of Indigenous language groups to explicate the notions of language as a 'cultural schema' and country as a 'cultural category' in Indigenous languages. It also posits a number of conceptual metaphors that relate to country and language, namely country is a sentient being, country is a rational being, and country is a linguistically competent being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-111
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Australian Indigenous languages
  • Country
  • Cultural category
  • Cultural conceptual metaphor
  • Cultural schema
  • Language

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