The paper asks how languaging and language influence the world of the living. Extending Clements and Shelford (1939), the bio-ecology is redefined as the domain of plant–animal–human–culture formations. The move places what people do as a result of languaging into a reciprocal relation with the bio-ecology. While shaped by discourse and beliefs about language-systems (and representations), the language and actions of human organism–environment systems change the world. As Garner (2004) argues, ecolinguistics can do more than invoke ‘interaction’ between language and ecology. While ‘realities’ are partly shared, much is biophysical. Living subjects link language and languaging with experience and technologies that have transformed the bio-ecology. Once these dynamics are subject to investigation, macrosocial issues can be reconnected with biological, human and linguistic concerns. Ecolinguistics can thus illuminate the dynamics which enmesh the bio-ecology, human evolution, local histories, and language. In short, part of the field’s agenda becomes that of clarifying how languaging and language affect plant–animal–human–culture formations. If the approach can be used to forge a unified perspective on the bio-ecology, it will have non-negligible economic and political implications.
Language Sciences, 2014, Vol 41, Issue Part A, p. 60-70