Language in the Context of Culture (Nr 27)
This study is based on the assumption that language and culture are most closely connected at axiological level. Attention is paid to value terms regarded as cultural concepts, with their explications in the form of multi-aspectual cognitive definitions, as proposed in cognitive ethnolinguistics. Such extended definitions or “narratives” are “texts of culture” in the sense of the Moscow-Tartu School: they contain records of socially entrenched knowledge and beliefs, as well as references to norms and values professed by the speaking subject. This approach is illustrated with the metaphor of “Europe as home”. The analysis of several languages with regard to the pair of cultural concepts it includes leads to the conclusion that the mappings from HOME (source domain) to EUROPE (target domain) are in fact selective and hardly draw on an image of actual or real home: they are typically based on the image of an “ideal” home, with its atmosphere of family life, security, and feeling-at-home. To a limited extent, the physical aspect is activated in the process of metaphorisation, in connection with “building the European home”. However, in contemporary xenophobic discourse, the semantics of HOME triggers off the negative concept of “separation from the outside”: Europahaus, interpreted as Festung Europa ‘Fortress Europe’ with its implications of gates, walls, ramparts etc., becomes an unbreachable barrier against the “invasion of strangers”.