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Experience, Evidence, and Sense: The Hidden Cultural Legacy of English
     

Experience, Evidence, and Sense: The Hidden Cultural Legacy of English

by Anna Wierzbicka
 

This book is based on two ideas: first, that any language—English no less than any other-represents a universe of meaning, shaped by the history and experience of the men and women who have created it, and second, that in any language certain culture—specific words act as linchpins for whole networks of meanings, and that penetrating the meanings of

Overview

This book is based on two ideas: first, that any language—English no less than any other-represents a universe of meaning, shaped by the history and experience of the men and women who have created it, and second, that in any language certain culture—specific words act as linchpins for whole networks of meanings, and that penetrating the meanings of those key words can therefore open our eyes to an entire cultural universe. In this book Anna Wierzbicka demonstrates that three uniquely English words—evidence, experience, and sense—are exactly such linchpins. Using a rigorous plain language approach to meaning analysis, she unpacks the dense cultural meanings of these key words, disentangles their multiple meanings, and traces their origins back to the tradition of British empiricism. In so doing she reveals much about cultural attitudes embedded not only in British and American English, but also English as a global language.

An interdisciplinary work, Experience, Evidence, and Sense will be of interest to both scholars and students in linguistics and English, as well as historians of ideas, sociologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, and scholars of communication.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Focusing on a handful of English words whose meaning seems obvious to native speakers, and using a brand of semantic analysis accessible to any intelligent lay person, Anna Wierzbicka reveals the empiricist worldview embedded in the English lexicon and shows how mystifyingly foreign English can thus be to foreigners. As an exploration in historical semantics, Wierzbicka's new book deserves a place beside Raymond Williams's Keywords."—J.M. Coetzee, University of Adelaide, Nobel Laureate in Literature

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195368017
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
06/24/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
472
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Anna Wierzbicka is Professor of Linguistics at Australian National University. She has an international reputation for her work on languages and cultures. Her many books include English: Meaning and Culture, What Did Jesus Mean?, Semantics: Primes and Universals, Understanding Cultures Through Their Key Words, and Emotions Across Languages and Cultures.

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