An L2 correspondent writes to ask about the difference between culturally-related and culture-related. He used Google to count the number of hits, getting 8,810 for culturally-related and 20,100 for culture-related, and adds: 'This lets me feel at ease with culture-related. However, I found culturally-related used in an academic document. Are both constructions equally possible - although they aren't in terms of frequency of usage?'
Both constructions are possible, indeed - but the devil lies in the word 'equally'. There is a great deal of collocational variation between the two usages. Using the Google technique, I tried a few searches, and got these results:
A culture related courses: 2310
B culturally related courses: 96
A/B = 4%
A culture related factors: 1450
B culturally related factors: 385
A/B = 26%
A culture related differences: 1210
B culturally related differences: 397
A/B = 33%
A culture related issues: 3640
B culturally related issues: 1490
A/B = 41%
A culture related activities: 3330
B culturally related activities: 1460
A/B = 44%
Culture is the dominant usage each time, as my correspondent found, but there are huge differences in the extent of the dominance, as the percentages illustrate. On the other hand, we also find this:
A culture related anxiety: 3
B culturally related anxiety: 125
So the matter is not straightforward.
Are these differences just collocational preferences or is there any difference in meaning? It's possible to get a feel for this if we reduce the constructions to a basic contrast:
(1) This is a culture issue.
(2) This is a cultural issue.
I can think of several contexts where they would mean exactly the same thing. But I can also imagine a context, where I have a specific culture or cultures in mind, where I would prefer (1) because it is somewhat more focused, more specific. By contrast, I can imagine a context where I would prefer (2) because the implication is more general, related to some broader notion that transcends individual cultures.
There is also a stylistic point: culture is more succinct. And there is a phonaesthetic point in relation to my correspondent's query: culture-related has a rhythm of strong-weak-weak-strong-weak whereas culturally related has strong-weak-weak-weak-weak-strong-weak. The first rhythm falls well within English rhythmical norms (a dactyl), whereas a sequence of four unstressed syllables does not. Many users will avoid culturally for that reason alone.