Linguistic expression of place appreciation in English and Welsh

A case study in North Wales


  • Thora Tenbrink
  • Anwen Jago Williams Bangor University, Bangor, Wales, UK



place, language, appreciation, discourse analysis, linguistic features, space


Despite the prominence of 'place' notions in human geography and beyond, the language of place is surprisingly poorly understood. Platial research addresses human relations to places beyond the purely (geometric and cognitive) spatial aspects, whose linguistic features are well researched. This paper offers an in-depth case study of platial discourse in English and Welsh, contributing to a better understanding of how people use language to describe their attachment to a place. We asked 72 people to describe three local areas in North Wales in terms of what makes each one special and distinctive, along with  further questions. We explore the responses in terms of a range of qualitative linguistic features indicating aspects such as proximity and ownership, identify a range of semantic categories relevant to the notion of place, and offer an exhaustive analysis of how one particularly popular local feature - castles - is referred to in our data. Beyond identifying how the three local areas differ with respect to the platial attachment associated with them, this paper offers lists of keywords for each of the identified platial semantic categories as a basis for future studies in the field. Our findings further suggest that ownership terminology, time references, and spatial inferences frequently characterise expressions of place appreciation, in different ways in English and Welsh.







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