This paper deconstructs certain colloquial terms, objects and physical actions to reveal their importance in the cultural construction of landscape metaphor. Vernacular uses of language and displacement allow long-term inhabitants of Britain’s southwestern Cornish peninsula to assimilate environments and localities into a particular ontological framework of orientation. While exploring the directional nature of certain linguistic and embodied spatial idioms as elements of cultural identity, I consider direction of movement and location in both space/time. By guiding verbal, visual and visceral metaphors through Cornwall’s landscapes, residents intertwine a world view with a “word view”. This concerns the movements between locations figuratively fixed in local biographies, vernacular codes of difference and materialised space. The directionality of the body, toponyms and colloquialisms thus highlight a fluid form of distinction.


landscape idioms, directionality, Cornish identity, metaphor

How to Cite

Laviolette P. (2012) “HOMO DIRECTUS”, Ethnologia Europaea. 42(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1090

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


Patrick Laviolette (Tallinn University)




Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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