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.
Wierzbicka's stunning ability to distinguish fine shades of meaning (and often to correct the Oxford English Dictionary) makes this book as exciting as it is accessible. Summing Up: Highly Recommended. D.L.Patey, CHOICE
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 ThroughTheir Key Words, and Emotions Across Languages and Cultures.
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