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Fairies, banshees, and the church

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The present paper approaches Irish English from a cultural linguistic perspective. It illustrates how the study of cultural schemas, cultural categories, cultural conceptualisations, and conceptual metaphors/metonymies can contribute to the understanding of Irish English as a variety of English whose speech community shares a unique cultural cognition, which is instantiated in linguistic patterns that appear to be ‘marked’ for everybody from outside of Ireland. Drawing from two corpora (ICE-Ireland, Corpus of Galway City Spoken English) as well as from ethnographic research (Wentz 1911; National Folklore Collection 1939/2017), the paper discusses possible cultural keywords of Irish English, cultural schemas involving banshees and fairies as well as conceptual metonymies such as the church is authority, all of which can be understood to express particular Irish cultural experiences. The paper also illustrates how cultural conceptualisations are constantly being negotiated and renegotiated through time and across generations within the Irish English speech community. The paper illustrates the applicability of the cultural linguistic paradigm to the study of Irish English, offering a new perspective on a well-studied variety of English.
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Keywords: Cultural Linguistics; Irish English; corpus-based approach; cultural cognition; cultural conceptualisations; cultural keywords; ethnographic approach

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 14, 2017

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