Experience, Evidence, and Sense : The Hidden Cultural Legacy of English
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 unpackages 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 other global varieties of English. An interdisciplinary work, Experience, Evidence, and Sense is accessible to both scholars and students in linguistics and English, as well as historians of ideas, sociologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, and scholars of communication.
- Hardback | 472 pages
- 154.94 x 236.22 x 38.1mm | 816.46g
- 24 Jun 2010
- Oxford University Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
Table of contents
PART I. INTRODUCTION ; Making the familiar look foreign ; PART II. EXPERIENCE AND EVIDENCE ; Experience: an English key word and cultural theme ; Evidence: words, ideas, and cultural practices ; PART III. SENSE ; The discourse of sense and the legacy of "British Empiricism" ; A sense of humor, a sense of self and similar expressions ; A strong sense, a deep sense and similar expressions ; Moral sense ; Common sense ; From having sense to making sense ; PART IV. PHRASEOLOGY, SEMANTICS AND CORPUS LINGUISTICS ; Investigating English phraseology with two tools: NSM and Google ; Notes ; References ; Appendix ; Index
All in all, the book is a thought-provoking contribution to the history of ideas. It is to be hoped that it will inspire rigorous work in several lines of research. * Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Language *
About Anna Wierzbicka
Professor of Linguistics, Australian National University; author of English: Meaning and Culture; What Did Jesus Mean?; Semantics: Primes and Universals.