A linguistic study of relationships between environmental attitudes, beliefs and practices
Keywords:Appraisal Theory, Systemic Functional Linguistic (SF) Theory, Transitivity, Ergativity, Human Geography, Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours, Agency, Nature, Environment
It is increasingly recognized that the major barriers to environmental sustainability are social, cultural and organizational rather than scientific. Environmental managers are acknowledging the importance of research into environmental attitudes and behaviours but have tended to use non-linguistic research methods. In this study, linguistic tools, particularly transitivity and appraisal analysis are used to investigate the kinds of attitudes and linguistic construals different groups of Australians have in relation to their own backyards and to the environment at large. Three interview transcripts of urban dwelling Australian citizens talking about their backyards and their environmental attitudes which were selected according to gardener type: non-native; general-native and committed-native gardener are analysed. The purpose is to examine the relationships between gardener type, attitudes towards the environment and the interviewees’ feelings of empowerment in relation to environmental practices as revealed by their language use. The analyses are compared to the methods of human geography to test the extent to which linguistic methodologies can inform or confirm the geographical approaches.
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