The studies in this volume show how speech practices can be understood from
a culture-internal perspective, in terms of values, norms and beliefs of
the speech commu-nities concerned. Focusing on examples from many different
cultural locations, the contributing authors ask not only: 'What is
distinctive about these particular ways of speaking?', but also: 'Why -
from their own point of view - do the people concerned speak in these
particular ways? What sense does it make to them?'.
The ethnopragmatic approach stands in opposition to the culture-external
universalist pragmatics represented by neo-Gricean pragmatics and
politeness theory. Using "cultural scripts" and semantic explications -
techniques developed over 20 years work in cross-cultural semantics by Anna
Wierzbicka and colleagues - the authors examine a wide range of phenomena,
including: speech acts, terms of address, phraseological patterns, jocular
irony, facial expressions, interactional routines, discourse particles,
expressive derivation, and emotionality. The authors and languages are:
Anna Wierzbicka (English), Cliff Goddard (Australian English), Jock Wong
(Singapore English), Zhengdao Ye (Chinese), Catherine Travis (Colombian
Spanish), Rie Hasada (Japanese) and Felix Ameka (Ewe). Taken together,
these studies demonstrate both the profound "cultural shaping" of speech
practices, and the power and subtlety of new methods and techniques of a
semantically grounded ethnopragmatics.
The book will appeal not only to linguists and anthropologists, but to all
scholars and students with an interest in language, communication and culture.
The book presents case studies from a diverse range of languages.
It demonstrates how prevailing cultural attitudes, norms and beliefs can be
modelled in a clear, precise and non-ethnocentric fashion.