Ethnopragmatics starts with the objective of understanding speech practices in terms of the values and social models of cultural insiders. It applies analytical methods based on cross-linguistic semantics in order to access and represent cultural meanings (Wierzbicka 1991; Goddard/Wierzbicka eds. 2004; Goddard ed. 2006). The chapter explains and positions these characteristics of ethnopragmatics with respect to similar and rival approaches. Ethnopragmatics is anti-Anglocentric, identifying as a critical issue the need to avoid English-specific terminology and English-specific concepts both in cultural description and in theory formulation. Relatedly, an important aspect of the ethnopragmatic project to de-naturalise the pragmatics of Anglo English. The chapter illustrates how cultural scripts and semantic explications framed in simple translatable words can be used to faithfully capture cultural-internal understandings of meaning, while at the same time allowing these to be accessible to cultural outsiders. Ethnopragmatics can be applied at different levels of description, from high-level cultural scripts associated with cultural keywords, to interactional scripts for communicative style, right down to scripts for linguistic routines and other word usage phenomena. It can illuminate connections between cultural values and beliefs, on the one hand, and a wide range of features of language structure and use, such as diminutives and honorifics, systems of address and reference, discourse particles, and of course, language-specific word meanings of diverse kinds. Ethnpragmatics sketches are provided for Chinese and Anglo English. As for future directions, the chapter looks to practical applications of ethnopragmatics in intercultural education and in language documentation.
The Routledge Handbook of Language and Culture
Linguistic Structures (incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)