ERIC Number: ED398737
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
"Cultural Scripts": A Semantic Approach to Cultural Analysis and Cross-Cultural Communication.
This paper argues that the ways of speaking characteristic of a given speech-community cannot be satisfactorily described or explained in purely behavioral terms, that they constitute a behavioral manifestation of a tacit system of cultural rules or scripts, and that to understand a society's ways of speaking, it is necessary to identify and articulate its implicit cultural scripts. Furthermore, that to be able to do this without ethnocentric bias a universal, language-independent perspective is needed, and that this can be attained if the rules in question are stated in terms of lexical universals (i.e., universal human concepts lexicalized in all languages). To illustrate these propositions, ways in which these cultural scripts can be stated and justified are presented, using Japanese, (White) Anglo-American, and Black American cultural norms. The cultural scripts advanced here are formulated in a highly constrained "natural semantic metalanguage" based on a small set of lexical universals and a small set of universal syntactic patterns. It is proposed that this metalanguage allows portrayal and comparison of culture-specific attitudes, assumptions, and norms from a neutral, culture-independent perspective in terms of simple formulae that are intuitively self-explanatory while also rigorous and empirically verifiable. (Author/MSE)
Descriptors: Behavior Patterns, Blacks, Contrastive Linguistics, Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Traits, Foreign Countries, Intercultural Communication, Japanese, Language Patterns, Language Research, Language Universals, Linguistic Theory, North American English, Pragmatics, Semantics, Sociocultural Patterns, Whites
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Pragmatics and Language Learning. Monograph Series, Volume 5, p1-24, 1994; see FL 014 038.