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

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  • ISBN-13: 9780195368000
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Release Date: Jun 24, 2010
  • Edition: 1
  • Pages: 472 pages
  • Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.1 x 9.4 inches


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 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 and American 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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