Agency and Impersonality

Their Linguistic and Cultural Manifestations

| Doshisha University
ISBN 9789027230881 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027293282 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
In this monograph the author probes the fundamental nature of the concept of agency and its importance to human language and cognition. Whereas previous studies focused on grammatical manifestations this original work addresses such issues as the strong relationship between agency and responsibility, a philosophical interpretation of the concept of agency and a variety of epistemic attitudes towards agency that strongly influence our view of the world. Different cultures and languages process and express agency differently. To illustrate the co-relation between the linguistic expressions of agency and cultural stereotypes that lurk behind individual natural languages, the author analyses Japanese and English parallel corpora. It is shown that English tends to highlight agency in expressing actions and events, whereas Japanese largely obfuscates agency through impersonalising potential agents. Through the case studies on these languages this book sheds light on the close connection between language, thought and culture and contributes to the resurging interest in linguistic relativity.
[Studies in Language Companion Series, 78]  2006.  x, 152 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents



List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction
2. What is agency?
3. Linguistic treatment of agency and its manifestations in Japanese and English: With reference to the concept of ‘impersonality’
4. Agency, impersonality and world-view: With reference to linguistic and socio-cultural relativity
5. Some enigmas concerning agency, impersonality and ‘reality’
“I found this book always interesting to read, due to the author's wit and entertaining style of writing, which is truly admirable.”
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BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2006047728