Gardeners’ Talk

A linguistic study of relationships between environmental attitudes, beliefs and practices

Authors

  • Elizabeth Thomson Faculties of Arts and Science, University of Wollongong
  • Chris Cléirigh Faculties of Arts and Science, University of Wollongong
  • Lesley Head Faculties of Arts and Science, University of Wollongong
  • Pat Muir Faculties of Arts and Science, University of Wollongong

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.v2i3.425

Keywords:

Appraisal Theory, Systemic Functional Linguistic (SF) Theory, Transitivity, Ergativity, Human Geography, Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours, Agency, Nature, Environment

Abstract

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.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Thomson, Faculties of Arts and Science, University of Wollongong

Elizabeth Thomson is a Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics and Japanese, School of English Literatures, Philosophy and Languages, Faculty of arts, University of Wollongong. She researches in Systemic Functional Descriptions of Japanese and English. Her forthcoming book, Systemic Functional Perspectives of Japanese: Descriptions and Applications is a collection of the latest functional work on the Japanese language.

Chris Cléirigh, Faculties of Arts and Science, University of Wollongong

Chris Cléirigh is a Junior Research Fellow in the School of Education at the University of New England, working on the Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project Image/text relations in narrative and information texts for children in print and electronic media: Multimodal text description for multiliteracies education, a joint project with the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. His forthcoming book, The Life Of Meaning, models semiotic systems as complex adaptive systems integrated within material complexity.

Lesley Head, Faculties of Arts and Science, University of Wollongong

Lesley Head is Professor of Geography in the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong. She directed the Backyard Project described in this paper, and a book from the project will be released in 2007. Her previous books include Second Nature. The history and implications of Australia as Aboriginal landscape and Cultural Landscapes and Environmental Change.

Pat Muir, Faculties of Arts and Science, University of Wollongong

Pat Muir was Research Assistant on the Backyard Project.

References

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Published

2008-06-24

How to Cite

Thomson, E., Cléirigh, C., Head, L., & Muir, P. (2008). Gardeners’ Talk: A linguistic study of relationships between environmental attitudes, beliefs and practices. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 2(3), 425-460. https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.v2i3.425

Issue

Section

Articles