The Cultural Semantics of Address Practices

by Gian Marco Farese (Author)
Unlimited loans, One at a time

This book presents a contrastive analysis of various forms of address used in English and Italian from the perspective of cultural semantics, the branch of linguistics which investigates the relationship between meaning and culture in discourse. The objects of the analysis are the interactional meanings expressed by different forms of address in these two languages, which are compared adopting the methodology of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage. The forms analyzed include greetings, titles and opening and closing salutations used in letters and e-mails in the two languages. Noticeably, the book presents the first complete categorization of Italian titles used as forms of address ever made on the basis of precise semantic criteria. The analysis also investigates the different cultural values and assumptions underlying address practices in English and Italian, and emphasizes the risks of miscommunication caused by different address practices in intercultural interactions. Every chapter presents numerous examples taken from language corpora, contemporary English and Italian literature and personal e-mails and letters. The book encourages a new, innovative approach to the analysis of forms of address: it proposes a new analytical method for the analysis of forms of address which can be applied to the study of other languages systematically. In addition, the book emphasizes the role of culture in address practices and takes meaning as the basis for understanding the differences in use across languages and the difficulties in translating forms of address of different languages. Combining semantics, ethnopragmatics, intercultural communication and translation theory, this book is aimed at a very broad readership which includes not only scholars in linguistics, second-language learners and students of cross-cultural communication, but virtually anyone interested in Italian and English linguistics as well as in cultural semantics. The approach taken is interdisciplinary and brings together various fields in the social sciences: linguistics, anthropology, cross-cultural studies and sociology.

Book details

Publication date
August 15, 2018
Page count