Cross-cultural Pragmatics: The Semantics of Human Interaction

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Walter de Gruyter, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 502 pages
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This book, which can be seen as both a research monograph and a text book, challenges the approaches to human interaction based on supposedly universal "maxims of conversation" and "principles of politeness," which fly in the face of reality as experienced by millions of people - refugees, immigrants, crosscultural families, and so on. By contrast to such approaches, which can be of no use in crosscultural communication and education, this book is both theoretical and practical: it shows that in different societies, norms of human interaction are different and reflect different cultural attitudes and values; and it offers a framework within which different cultural norms and different ways of speaking can be effectively explored, explained, and taught.

The book discusses data from a wide range of languages, including English, Italian, Russian, Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, and Walmatjari (an Australian Aboriginal language), and it shows that the meanings expressed in human interaction and the different "cultural scripts" prevailing in different speech communities can be described and compared in a way that is clear, simple, rigorous, and free of ethnocentric bias by using a "natural semantic metalanguage," based on empirically established universal human concepts. As the book shows, this metalanguage can be used as a basis for teaching successful cross-cultural communication and education, including the teaching of languages in a cultural context.

 

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Contents

semantics and pragmatics
1
Description of contents
20
Preliminary examples and discussion
27
Cultural values reflected in speech acts
47
Crosscultural pragmatics and different cultural values
67
Directness
88
Conclusion
129
Speech acts and speech genres across
149
Conclusion
282
Interjections across cultures
285
Volitive interjections
292
Emotive interjections
302
Cognitive interjections
326
Conclusion
337
only merely and just
346
Polish quantitative particles
379

Some Australian speechact verbs
165
Some examples of complex speech genres
183
Conclusion
196
More whimperative constructions
211
Additional remarks on the explication
218
its meaning
255
The illocutionary force of Italian reduplication
263
The absolute superlative in Italian and in English
270
Illocutionary grammar and cultural style
276
Conclusion
389
semantic representations
403
Verbal tautologies
431
constructions
444
semantics as a key
453
Bibliography
461
Subject and name index
487
Index of words and phrases
497
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Anna Wierzbicka is Professor at Australian National University, Canberra.

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