Ecolinguistics and ecosophy
For a harmonious relationship between people and place through the intermediate medium of language
Keywords:ecolinguistics, ecosophy, classical chinese philosophy, sense of place
This article presents a philosophical framework for studies of ecolinguistics, combining the Eastern wisdom of ecological harmony and the Western human geographical concept of sense of place. To establish the basic criteria for ecolinguistic analysis, the article traces the three most influential Chinese schools of philosophy and extracts three of their shared disciplines: benevolence, frugality and intimacy with nature. To reveal the dynamic relationship between human beings and the places where they reside, the article revisits the concept of sense of place and extends it to cover an ecological dimension of people and place. Connecting ecological ethics derived from classical Chinese philosophy with systemic human-place dynamics, this proposed framework provides an ideological basis for ecolinguistic research, especially for discourse analysis. Following this ecosophy, the involved human beings and other elements of places included in a discourse can be revealed through the system of sense of place; and the ecological implications of linguistic features can be evaluated according to the three major principles. To complete the analysis, positive and negative orientations will be distinguished as well as a middle ground of ambivalent orientation. To conclude, this article aims to provide a well-grounded ideological reference for the deconstruction and subsequent assessment of linguistic resources, and thereby to establish a crucial strand of ecolinguistic scholarship.
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