queue jumpers

Farzad Sharifian f.sharifian at COWAN.EDU.AU
Wed Apr 3 06:37:10 UTC 2002

Dear all,

My greetings to everybody on this list. I am a new member and my name is
Farzad Sharifian. I'm a research fellow at the Centre for Applied
Language and Literacy Research, Edith Cowan University, Western
Australia. My primary areas of research are psycholinguisitcs and more
recently cognitive linguistics. I share with Teun the interest in
Cognitive Discourse Analysis, particularly as it relates to the societal
level of cognition. I migrated to Australia 4 years ago and I'm
originally from Iran. There's information about what my academic career
and my publications on the internet for those interested. For a start, I
would like to share the following with other members.

Some Australian officials have recently used the metaphor 'queue
jumpers' to refer to asylum seekers who have come to Australia
'illegally', by boat for example. There would be at least two questions
relevant to this usage.

1-  Form the critical-cognitive perspective, the question is whether
different cultures associate different attitude schemas (van Dijk 1988)
with 'queue jumping' in general. Australians hold a very negative
attitude schema with regard to queue jumping, and that's perhaps why the
asylum seekers have been called so by those officials! However, my
Persian background appears to be more tolerant of queue jumping. I hear
from some colleagues that in some cultures the concept of queue doesn't
even exist.

2. From a more cognitive linguistic perspective, the question would be
whether different languages use metaphors which evoke different images
with regards to 'queue jumping' and whether these images mirror the
attitude schemas associated with them. Gary Palmer is telling me that in
American English they say 'butting in the line', which clearly evokes a
different image than 'queue jumping'. In Persian, we use the phrase 'to
saf zadan' which roughly means 'hitting in the line'. It can be seen
that the image which is evoked in Persian does not reflect such a
negative attitude schema which is associated with 'queue jumping'.

To me this clearly shows how similar events may be conceptualized
differently by people across different cultures and languages.

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