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Title: The "triple articulation" of language
Authors: Wong, J. 
Keywords: Cultural script
Natural semantic language
Semantic primes
Singapore English
Issue Date: Nov-2010
Citation: Wong, J. (2010-11). The "triple articulation" of language. Journal of Pragmatics 42 (11) : 2932-2944. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In this paper, I argue that a language has three " faces" - form, meaning, and culture - and hence pragmemes are best analysed with respect to a cultural context. Using examples of culturally embedded pragmemes from Singapore English, I demonstrate how their use is intimately associated with culture-specific ways of thinking, which in many instances go against widely accepted paradigms like Grice's maxims and Brown & Levinson's politeness principles. My data suggest that Singapore English routinely blurs the distinction between opinion and fact and that opinions are often presented as if they are facts, which goes against the maxim of quality, which requires people not to say that for which they lack evidence. I additionally show how some of these culture-specific ways of thinking may be articulated in ways that reflect an insider perspective.Finally, I propose that we go one step further to talk about the " triple articulation" of language, which views language as a three-tiered entity, comprising form, meaning, and culture. This idea of what language is about goes beyond lexicon and grammar to include non-formal features like conversational routines, frequency of use of certain expressions, the avoidance of certain ways of speaking, pragmemes, etc., which can only be satisfactorily explained with reference to culture. A person who is supposed to have learned a language without understanding its culture has at best mastered its lexicon and grammar. They have not mastered the " essence" of the language. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Source Title: Journal of Pragmatics
ISSN: 03782166
DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2010.06.013
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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