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

Paperback | July 8, 2010

byAnna Wierzbicka

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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 forwhole 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 rigorousplain 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 andAmerican 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.

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From the Publisher

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 forwhole networks of meanings, and that penetrat...

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 Lan...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:472 pages, 9.09 × 6.1 × 1.42 inPublished:July 8, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195368010

ISBN - 13:9780195368017

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Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction1. Making the Familiar Look ForeignPart II. Experience and Evidence2. Experience: An English Key Word and Cultural Theme3. Evidence: Words, Ideas, and Cultural PracticesPart III. Sense4. The Discourse of Sense and the Legacy of "British Empiricism"5. A Sense of Humor, a Sense of Self and Similar Expressions6. A Strong Sense, a Deep Sense and Similar Expressions7. Moral Sense8. Common Sense9. From Having Sense to Making SensePart IV. Phraseology, Semantics and Corpus Linguistics10. Investigating English Phraseology with Two Tools: NSM and GoogleNotesReferencesAppendixIndex

Editorial Reviews

"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 Englishcan 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