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Verbal Communication by Louis de Saussure, Andrea Rocci

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Anna Wierzbicka

23Two levels of verbal communication, universal and culture-specific

Abstract: The “naïve” (non-scientific) models of the human person embedded in everyday language differ a great deal across languages and often lead us to the heart of the shared cultural values of the speech community in question. Even within Europe the models of the human person embedded in different languages are quite diverse. Remarkably, all human cultures appear to agree that human beings have a body (that people can see) and “something else” (that people can’t see). The construal of this “something else”, however, differs a great deal across languages, cultures, and epochs. For speakers of modern English, this “something else” is usually interpreted as ...

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