Semantics, Culture, and Cognition: Universal Human Concepts in Culture-Specific Configurations / Edition 1

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Not everything that can be said in one language can be said in another. The lexicons of different languages seem to suggest different conceptual universes. Investigating cultures from a universal, language-independent perspective, this book rejects analytical tools derived from the English language and Anglo culture and proposes instead a "natural semantic metalanguage" formulated in English words but based on lexical universals. The outcome of two and a half decades of research, the metalanguage is made up of universal semantic primitives in terms of which all meanings—including the most culture-specific ones—can be described and compared in a precise and illuminating way. Integrating insights from linguistics, cultural anthropology, and cognitive psychology, and written in simple, non-technical language, Semantics, Culture, and Cognition is accessible not only to scholars and students, but also to the general reader interested in semantics and the relationship between language and culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Excellent cross-linguistic, cross-cultural penetration into how the mind works. Fascinating analysis of language as a mirror into the workings of the human soul."—Richard L. Wright, Howard University

"An excellent reader in semantics."—Harold Battersby, SUNY-Geneseo

"A strong contribution to today's emphasis on multicultural studies. I recommend it strongly to all students of language and culture."—Dr. Gil Clardy, East Texas State Univ.

"Semantics, Culture, and Cognition is a welcome addition to Wierzbicka's inexhaustible semantic explications."—Australian Journal of Linguistics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195073263
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
I Linguistic Evidence for Ethnopsychology and Ethnophilosophy
1 Soul, Mind, and Heart 31
2 Fate and Destiny 65
II Emotions Across Cultures
3 Are Emotions Universal or Culture-Specific? 119
4 Describing the Indescribable 135
III Moral Concepts Across Cultures
5 Apatheia, Smirenie, Humility 183
6 Courage, Bravery, Recklessness 201
IV Names and Titles
7 Personal Names and Expressive Derivation 225
8 Titles and Other Forms of Address 309
V Kinship Semantics
9 Lexical Universals and Psychological Reality 329
10 'Alternate Generations' in Australian Aboriginal Languages 355
VI Language as a Mirror of Culture and 'National Character'
11 Australian English 373
12 The Russian Language 395
Postscript 443
Notes 445
References 453
Index 475
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