Terms and Phenomena - Metalanguages Serving the Cross-Cultural Linguistics
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The purpose of the paper is to analyze metalanguages of cross-cultural linguistics. The main focus is placed on Wierzbicka's definitions of Japanese words and concepts.The definitions are critically examined with respect to their usefulness for final users, not necessarily experts on things Japanese. Finally, an alternative descriptive method is provided, based on comparative examples of Japanese and Polish communication phenomena.As a result of the analysis, considerable inaccuracies in Wierzbicka's approach are revealed, particularly in the interpretation of data gathered from informants, which is performed on too high a level of abstraction.In conclusion, it can be pointed out that general statements used in Wierzbicka's definitions significantly oversimplify the phenomena in question. In other words, definitions useful in applied cross-cultural studies should not go beyond their inevitable limitations. Instead, their main objective should be to provide the descriptions of homogeneous realities that do not obscure the source phenomena.
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