Rethinking ecolinguistics from a distributed language perspective

Jia Li*, Sune Vork Steffensen, Guowen Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

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    In this article, we discuss the current status of ecolinguistics and key issues in the field regarding the positioning of ecolinguistics, and the research objects, aims and methodologies in studies conducted under the label of “ecolinguistics” or “language ecology” (Section 2). Having discussed the inconsistencies and problems in these studies, we present a naturalized view of language from a distributed language perspective (DLP) which has the potential to contribute to a new understanding of the research object in ecolinguistics (Section 3). Under this new understanding of the nature of language and ecology, we propose possible research topics to be explored and potential methodologies to be adopted in ecolinguistics (Section 4). From a distributed understanding of language, ecology, and the research domain and methodologies proposed for future ecolinguistic studies, we argue that ecolinguistics is both an alternative to linguistics and a branch of ecology (Section 5). Future work is needed to explore the research domain proposed for ecolinguistics here, and multidisciplinary cooperation is necessary for the future development of the field.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101277
    JournalLanguage Sciences
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


    • Bio-ecology
    • Distributed language perspective
    • Ecolinguistics
    • Extended ecology hypothesis
    • Naturalized view of language
    • Organism-environment system


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