Imprisoned in English: The Hazards of English as a Default Language

Paperback | December 16, 2013

byAnna Wierzbicka

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Imprisoned in English argues that in the present English-dominated world, social sciences and the humanities are locked in a conceptual framework grounded in English and that most scholars in these fields are not aware of the need to break away from this framework to reach a more universal,culture-independent perspective on things human. Indeed they are typically not aware that any problem exists, and resistant to its being pointed out.The book engages with current debates across a range of disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, sociology, evolutionary science, psychology, and cognitive science, as well as linguistics. The topics include values, emotions, social cognition, intercultural communication, endangeredlanguages, human universals vs. human diversity, the evolution of consciousness, etc.It is a book dedicated to one central idea: the blind spot in contemporary social sciences and the prevailing global discourse on values, the human condition, human relations, and so on, which results from the "invisibility" of English as an increasingly globalized way of thinking andtalking.

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Imprisoned in English argues that in the present English-dominated world, social sciences and the humanities are locked in a conceptual framework grounded in English and that most scholars in these fields are not aware of the need to break away from this framework to reach a more universal,culture-independent perspective on things huma...

Anna Wierzbicka is Professor of Linguistics at the Australian National University, and author of Semantics, Culture, and Cognition (1992); Semantics: Primes and Universals (1996): Understanding Cultures Through their Keywords (1997); What did Jesus Mean? (2001), and English: Meaning and Culture (2006).
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:December 16, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199321507

ISBN - 13:9780199321506

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Table of Contents

PART I: Every language draws a circle ...1. Introduction: Recognising the contingency of one's own language2. Naming the world or construing the world?3. The givens of human life4. Universal words, semantic atoms and semantic molecules5. Human bodies and human minds: what is visible and what is invisiblePART II: Emotions and values6. Anglo values vs. Human values: Talking about values in a global world7. Human emotions and English words: Are anger and disgust universal?PART III: 'Politeness' and 'cooperation'8. Talking to other people: 'Politeness' and cultural scripts9. Doing things with other people: 'cooperation', 'interaction' and 'obs?enie'PART IV: Entering other minds10. Grammar and social cognition: the Hawaiians, the Dalabons, and the Anglos11. Endangered languages, endangered meanings12. Thinking about 'things' in Yucatec and in English13. Chimpanzees and the evolution of human cognitionPART V: Breaking down the walls of the prison14. From ordinary (Anglo) English to Minimal EnglishPART VI: kindred thinking across disciplines15. Anthropology, Psychology, Psychiatry16. Philosophy, Theology, Politics17. Linguistics: Cognitive and cultural approaches18. Bilingualism, Life writing, TranslationFinal remarksReferencesIndex