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Anthropology of the Word

The Stepsister of Linguistic Anthropology

Grzegorz Godlewski

Anthropology of the word is an approach that originated in Poland, at the University of Warsaw, in the early 1990s. It emerged from philological study of language and literature, by widening and strengthening their cultural dimensions. Gradually, this approach grew closer to linguistic anthropology but retained its specificity, which consists essentially in considering linguistic practices as cultural practices, including language-mediated practices in which the verbal line is only one thread; studying historical forms of linguistic practices; recognising verbal art (including literature) as a set of peculiar linguistic practices and making it a subject of anthropological study; including linguistic practices other than oral and written ones; identifying various cognitive aspects of the textual bias in order to eliminate its distorting effect on the study of linguistic practices.