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Intercultural Pragmatics

Editor-in-Chief: Kecskes, Istvan

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Cultural scripts, ways of speaking and perceptions of personal autonomy: Anglo English vs. Singapore English

Jock Onn Wong

Citation Information: Intercultural Pragmatics. Volume 1, Issue 2, Pages 231–248, ISSN (Online) 1613-365X, ISSN (Print) 1612-295X, DOI: 10.1515/iprg.2004.1.2.231, July 2005

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Every language variety embodies a set of culture-specific ways of thinking that can be articulated with maximal clarity and minimal ethnocentrism in the form of ‘cultural scripts’ using natural semantic metalanguage (NSM). In this study, perceptions of ‘personal autonomy’ in Anglo culture and in Singapore culture are explored on the basis of linguistic evidence using NSM. These Anglo and Singaporean attitudes to personal autonomy are articulated in the form of cultural scripts, and are thus compared and contrasted. The proposed cultural scripts show that even though Anglo English speakers and Singapore English speakers can both be said to speak the same ‘language’, the cultural values reflected by the two varieties can be radically different from and even at odds with each other.

Keywords: cultural scripts; Anglo English; Singapore English; natural semantic metalanguage (NSM); personal autonomy

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