Redefining the Concept of Language – On the Example of the Women’s Strike “Language” in Poland (2020)

Author Information

Iliana Genew-Puhalewa,
University of Warsaw, Poland

DOI: 10.47298/comela22.6-3
The GLOCAL Proceedings:  The GLOCAL Conference in the Mediterranean and Europe 2022


The paper examines the linguistic and discursive image of the protests that broke out in Poland in late 2020 in reaction to a ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal tightening the law on abortion. Verbal and non-verbal expression of the movement was conceived of in terms of ‘language’ (the language of protest) in the debate which surrounded it. Therefore, this paper aims at redefining the term language and the concept behind the term with the use of a cognitive definition within the methodological paradigm of cultural (ethno)linguistics. A set of features attributed to the language of protest is reconstructed on the basis of metalinguistic data, and presented as a specific ‘text of culture,’ emphasizing the close relation mong the notion of language, a given context, experience, and set of values and ideas.

Keywords: Language of protest, cognitive definition, linguistic worldview, vulgar language, ethnolinguistics


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