Ecolinguistics and ecosophy

For a harmonious relationship between people and place through the intermediate medium of language


  • Zhang Ruijie University of Science and Technology Beijing
  • He Wei Beijing Foreign Studies University



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.

Author Biographies

Zhang Ruijie, University of Science and Technology Beijing

Zhang Ruijie is Lecturer of the School of Foreign Studies at University of Science and Technology, Beijing (USTB). She is also a member of the Association Committee of China Association of Ecolinguistics. Her research interests include Systemic Functional Linguistics and ecolinguistics.

He Wei, Beijing Foreign Studies University

He Wei is Professor of Linguistics and Deputy Director of the National Research Centre of Foreign Language Education at Beijing Foreign Studies University. Her areas of expertise include Systemic Functional Linguistics, ecolinguistics, translation studies, and discourse analysis. She is particularly interested in exploring the interface between semantics and syntax from a functional point of view and in applying systemic functional linguisticsto ecolinguistic studies.


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How to Cite

Ruijie, Z., & Wei, H. (2021). Ecolinguistics and ecosophy: For a harmonious relationship between people and place through the intermediate medium of language. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 14(3), 261–297.