Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Imprisoned in EnglishThe Hazards of English as a Default Language$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Anna Wierzbicka

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199321490

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199321490.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2020

Grammar and Social Cognition: The Hawaiians, the Dalabons, and the Anglos

Grammar and Social Cognition: The Hawaiians, the Dalabons, and the Anglos

(p.119) 10 Grammar and Social Cognition: The Hawaiians, the Dalabons, and the Anglos
Imprisoned in English

Anna Wierzbicka

Oxford University Press

As many linguists studying endangered languages have emphasized, every language contains, in its lexicon and grammar, a distinct conceptual universe that is going to disappear forever when the last remaining speakers of that language die out. In 1974 anthropologist Clifford Geertz published a famous paper titled “From the native’s point of view,” in which he presented capturing “the native’s” ways of thinking as a major goal of cognitive anthropology. This chapter defends Geertz’s vision against present-day skeptics and shows how the goal of capturing the insider’s way of thinking can be realized by means of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage. By way of illustration, it reanalyzes a major grammatical category of Dalabon and other Australian languages known as the principle of “alternating generations.” The chapter shows how the social word of the speakers of Dalabon can be explained without technical English, in simple words cross-translatable into Dalabon itself, and thus describe Dalabon “social cognition” from the native speaker’s point of view.

Keywords:   Australian languages, social cognition, “harmonic” and “disharmonic” categories, Giambattista Vico, science vs. humanities

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .