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Imprisoned in EnglishThe Hazards of English as a Default Language$
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Anna Wierzbicka

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199321490

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199321490.001.0001

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Anglo Values vs. Human Values: Talking about Values in a Global World

Anglo Values vs. Human Values: Talking about Values in a Global World

Chapter:
(p.55) 6 Anglo Values vs. Human Values: Talking about Values in a Global World
Source:
Imprisoned in English
Author(s):

Anna Wierzbicka

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199321490.003.0006

Scholars and political leaders agree that in the contemporary world where the tempo and intensity of international and intercultural contacts is continually growing, communication about values has become increasingly crucial. But in what conceptual language can people and peoples across the world communicate about values? As this chapter illustrates, currently, questions about values tend to be asked in the conceptual vocabulary of English, with English value words such as “fairness,” “honesty,” “violence,” and “cooperation” playing a crucial role. The chapter illustrates the Anglocentrism of current global discourse about values with examples drawn from recent books by Steven Pinker, Daniel Everett, and Marc Hauser and it shows how global conversation about values can be conducted more meaningfully on the basis of universal human concepts (such as GOOD and BAD) and how it can be freed from its conceptual dependence on English words and Anglocentric assumptions.

Keywords:   Pinker on “violence”, “violence” in Russian, Everett on moral universals, “lying”, “greed”, “the golden rule”, Hauser on “right” and “wrong”, Shweder on moral universals

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