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ERIC Number: EJ866844
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0143-4632
The Meaning of English Words across Cultures, with a Focus on Cameroon and Hong Kong
Bobda, Augustin Simo
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v30 n5 p375-389 Sep 2009
A word, even when considered monosemic, generally has a cluster of meanings, depending on the mental representation of the referent by the speaker/writer or listener/reader. The variation is even more noticeable across cultures. This paper investigates the different ways in which cultural knowledge helps in the interpretation of English lexical items. After a brief review of the traditional "World Englishes" structural perspective, the paper analyses the various ways in which the schema helps in the construction of lexical meaning: it helps to decode the denotative meaning of some words with possible multiple interpretations; to perceive the referential boundaries; to understand the connotative meaning; to modulate meaning, demoting some features and promoting others; to understand the physical elements which contribute to the mental representation of some words; to perceive the bodily movements and other paralinguistic elements which contribute to the construction of the meaning of some words; to perceive the salience of a word within a cultural community; to perceive and predict collocates; to perceive cultural assumptions; to perceive political politeness and taboos; to distinguish transactional language from interactional language, and so on. The study is shown to have implications for lexicography and for English Language teaching. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Cameroon; Hong Kong