Imprisoned in English: The Hazards of English as a Default by Anna Wierzbicka

By Anna Wierzbicka

In Imprisoned in English, Anna Wierzbicka argues that during the current English-dominated global, hundreds of thousands of individuals - together with lecturers, legal professionals, diplomats, and writers - can turn into "prisoners of English", not able to imagine outdoor English. particularly, social sciences and the arts are actually more and more locked in a conceptual framework grounded in English. To such a lot students in those fields, treating English as a default language turns out a normal factor to do.

The book's procedure is interdisciplinary, and its topics variety over parts of relevant curiosity to anthropology, psychology, and sociology, between others. The linguistic fabric is drawn from languages of the United States, Australia, the Pacific, South-East Asia and Europe. Wierzbicka argues that it's time for human sciences to use English as an international lingua franca whereas while transcending the restrictions of the historically-shaped conceptual vocabulary of English. and he or she exhibits how this is often performed.

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This is, of course, a commentary that one may or may not agree with. Someone else might take the view that the largely “behaviorist” character of the prevalent modern English meaning of sex (with its connotations of potential pleasure rather than interpersonal connectedness) reflects a healthy attitude toward the body, without “hang-ups” of any kind, and that the same applies to publications like the “Safe Sex Guide” promoted by Cleo. Whatever view of the modern English “discourse of sex” one takes, it needs to be recognized that this discourse—which is now spreading, through English, across the global world— is a new cultural phenomenon, entrenched in, and transmitted through, contemporary English.

Since then, we have had the “language turn” in human sciences and a massive expansion of knowledge about the diversity of ways of thinking embedded in words of different languages. Yet the assumption that there are psychological and social realities that can be accessed, directly and unproblematically, through English is still widespread in the human sciences, including anthropology, psychology, and linguistics. I am not denying that some such realities can indeed be accessed through English. What I am denying is that English, with its global prestige and scientific glow, has a privileged access to the overall picture.

I am not denying that some such realities can indeed be accessed through English. What I am denying is that English, with its global prestige and scientific glow, has a privileged access to the overall picture. If there are some fundamental human givens, then they should be accessible through all languages, not through some, and still less, through English alone. So here is my story of these basic givens. People are born, live for some time, and then die (existential givens). People have bodies, with parts like heads, eyes, and hands (biological givens).

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