Talking about Livet ‘life’ in Golden Age Danish: Semantics, discourse, and cultural models

Magnus Hamann, Carsten Levisen

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This chapter explicates the word Livet, literally ‘the life’, a cultural keyword of the Danish Golden Age (1800–1850). With evidence from Golden Age Danish and its era-specific webs of words, we explore how “life and living” were construed discursively. We discuss how they relate to contemporary discourses of “the good life” in English and the related Danish calque det gode liv. We argue that era-specific cultural semantics should not be seen as being substantially different from other kinds of culture-specific discourses and that historical varieties such as Golden Age Danish can help us dismantle the hegemonic modern and Anglo take on “narratives of life” which dominate contemporary global discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Keywords in Discourse
EditorsCarsten Levinsen, Sophia Waters
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Publication date20 Oct 2017
ISBN (Print)9789027256829
ISBN (Electronic)9789027265470
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2017
SeriesPragmatics and Beyond New Series


  • Golden Age Danish
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Cultural Semantics
  • Ethnopragmatics
  • Historical Pragmatics

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