Cultural Scripts

Cliff Goddard

Table of contents

The term ‘cultural script’ refers to a technique for articulating culture-specific norms, values, and practices in terms which are clear, precise, and accessible to cultural insiders and outsiders alike. This result is possible because cultural scripts are formulated in the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) of semantic primes, a highly constrained ‘mini-language’ of simple words and grammatical patterns which evidence suggests have equivalents in all languages. The technique emerged in the mid-1990s, growing out of ‘cross-over research’ between semantics and cross-cultural pragmatics. Recent publications include the collective volumes Cultural Scripts (Goddard & Wierzbicka eds. 2004) and Ethnopragmatics (Goddard ed. 2006). Languages/cultures to which the cultural scripts method has been applied include various varieties of English (mainstream or “Anglo” English, Australian English, American English, Singapore English), Ewe, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Yankunytjatjara. A representative selection of studies is supplied in the references below.

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