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Title: Speech-acts, values and cultural scripts: a study in Malay ethnopragmatics
Contributor(s): Goddard, Cliff  (author)
Publication Date: 2004
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Abstract: The speech-act lexicon of any language provides its speakers with a ready-made "catalogue" of culture-specific categories of verbal interaction: a catalogue which makes sense within, and is attuned to, a particular portfolio of cultural values, assumptions, and attitudes. So it is that a microscopic examination of the semantics of speech-act verbs can shed a great deal of light on broader cultural themes, but equally the significance of any particular speech-act category can only be fully understood in broader cultural context. This study illustrates these contentions with the Malay speech-act verb 'pujuk', which can variously translated as 'coax', 'flatter', 'persuade', or 'comfort', but which really has no precise equivalent in English. Naturally occurring examples are given from Bahasa Melayu, the national language of Malaysia. The methods employed are the natural semantic metalanguage (NSM) approach originated by Anna Wierzbicka, and its companion approach, the theory of cultural scripts. I propose a single semantic explication for 'pujuk' which accounts for its diverse range with much greater precision than any normal dictionary definition; but the explication must be read against the background of several Malay cultural scripts reflecting the important role of feelings and "feelings management" in the Malay tradition, as reflected in expressions like 'timbang rasa' (lit. weigh feelings), 'jaga hati orang' 'minding people's feelings/hearts', 'ambil hati' 'lit. get heart, be charming', among others.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: 15th Biennial Conference of the ASAA (Asian Studies Association of Australia), Canberra, Australia, 29 June - 2 July, 2004
Conference Details: 15th Biennial Conference of the ASAA (Asian Studies Association of Australia), Canberra, Australia, 29 June - 2 July, 2004
Source of Publication: Asia Examined: Proceedings of the 15th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 2004, Canberra, Australia
Publisher: Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) & Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS)
Place of Publication: Australian National University, Canberra
Field of Research (FOR): 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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