<b>The Meanings of Landscape: Historical Development, Cultural Frames, Linguistic Variation, and Antonyms</b> // Los significados del paisaje: Desarrollo histórico, marcos culturales, variaciones lingüísticas y antónimos


  • Werner Bigell University of Tromsø, Norway
  • Cheng Chang Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden




platial and spatial landscape, anti-landscape, non-landscape // paisaje espacial y situado, antipaisaje, no-paisaje


      The article presents the shifts of meaning of the term landscape in English and other Germanic languages, from territory to vista and social arena. The concept of landscape forms part of a cultural frame of reference, and changes in the cultural context also affect the meaning of landscape. The dependency of the meaning of landscape on context is shown in an overview of what landscape means in other languages: Spanish, Russian, Thai, Arabic, and Chinese. The different meanings of landscape can also be elucidated by identifying its antonyms, the anti-landscape and the non-landscape. Although commonly criticized in the academic field as being deterministic, early attempts to map the influence of landscape on culture should be re-evaluated in the current trend to understand landscape systemically.


      El artículo presenta los cambios de significado del término paisaje en inglés y en otros idiomas germánicos, desde territorio a vista panorámica y área social. El paisaje forma parte de un marco cultural de referencia, y los cambios en el contexto cultural también afectan el significado del paisaje. La dependencia del significado del paisaje del contexto cultural se muestra en un resumen de lo que el paisaje significa en otros idiomas: español, ruso, tailandés, árabe y chino. Los diferentes significados del paisaje también pueden ser dilucidados mediante la identificación de los antónimos de paisaje, el anti-paisaje y el no-paisaje. Aunque rechazados generalmente en el campo académico como deterministas, los intentos anteriores de analizar la influencia del paisaje en la cultura pueden ser revalorizados en la tendencia actual de entender el paisaje de forma sistémica.


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Author Biographies

Werner Bigell, University of Tromsø, Norway

University of Tromsø, Norway


Werner Bigell is associate professor of English at the University of Tromsø, Norway. He wrote his doctoral dissertation about the American nature writer Edward Abbey and is currently interested in the field of the environmental humanities, ecomuseology, relation of community and landscape, and intercultural differences in the perception and use of natural spaces.

Cheng Chang, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden


Cheng Chang is a landscape architect. She took her bachelor and master degree in landscape architecture at the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University in Yangling, China. Currently she is a PhD-student at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, working on interaction and experience of landscape in ecomuseums and community gardens.






Translating Environmental Humanities