Idea-based and Image-based Linguacultures: Evidence from American English and Mandarin Chinese

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In order to investigate whether or not cultural cognitive differences between Western and East Asian countries should be taken seriously we compared the empirical results from studies of perception and cognition involving primarily American and Chinese people to linguistic data from exactly the same areas in American English and Mandarin Chinese. What we found were systematic language parallels to the perceptual and cognitive differences found in empirical studies. Our linguistic analysis did not only reveal that the differences should be taken seriously, but also that it seems to be possible to trace them back to different perspectives involved: The Anglo-American culture has an idea-based perspective, while the Mandarin Chinese culture has an image-based perspective to what appears to be a common basis for both Americans and Chinese in all other respects. The difference in perspective is, for instance, reflected in the two very different writing systems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Culture
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)351–387
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • The West and the East
  • Cognition
  • Perception
  • Idea
  • Image
  • American English and Mandarin Chinese linguacultures
  • Perspective

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