English: Meaning and Culture / Edition 1

English: Meaning and Culture / Edition 1

by Anna Wierzbicka
     
 

As The First truly global language and lingua franca, English is often seen simply- and simplistically-as a neutral, universal vehicle for the expression of thoughts and ideas. In fact, the words, phrases, and grammar of English are heavily loaded with cultural baggage. This engrossing book by one of the world's leading linguists identifies some of the innumerable… See more details below

Overview

As The First truly global language and lingua franca, English is often seen simply- and simplistically-as a neutral, universal vehicle for the expression of thoughts and ideas. In fact, the words, phrases, and grammar of English are heavily loaded with cultural baggage. This engrossing book by one of the world's leading linguists identifies some of the innumerable connections between the English language and "Anglo" culture.

Using the methods of linguistic semantics, Wierzbicka investigates the "universe of meaning" encompassed within the vocabulary and grammar of the English language and places it in historical and geographical perspective. For example, she looks at the historical ascent of the words "right" and "wrong" to their present status of cultural key words. She dissects the ideas of "fairness" and "reasonableness" and shows that, far from being cultural universals, they are unique creations of modern Anglo culture. This fascinating work of scholarship, which seeks to reveal English's cultural underpinnings and their implications for the modern world, will appeal not only to linguists and others concerned with language and culture, but to everyone interested in English and English as a second language.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195174755
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/27/2006
Edition description:
ANN
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Meaning, History and Culture
1. English as a cultural universe
2. Anglo cultural scripts as seen through Middle Eastern eyes
Part II. English words, From Philosophy to everyday discourse
3. The story of RIGHT and WRONG and its cultural implications
4. Being REASONABLE: A key Anglo value and its cultural roots
5. Being FAIR: Another key Anglo value and its cultural underpinnings
Part III. Anglo culture reflected in English Grammar
6. The English Causatives: Causation and interpersonal relations
7. I THINK: The rise of epistemic phrases in modern English
8. PROBABLY: English epistemic adverbs and their cultural significance
Part IV. Conclusion
9. The "cultural baggage" of English and its significance in the world at large

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