UTW2001Q

'What's in a word?' Meaning across cultures
Dr. Wong Jock Onn

It is often assumed that there is a common understanding of what specific words mean. However, can one assume a common understanding across cultures of words describing colour, such as 'red' or 'maroon,' or emotion, such as 'happiness,' 'pleasure,' or 'disgust'?

Are forms of address, such as nicknames, or interjections, such as 'damn' or the 'F' word, used in similar ways across cultures? Are there differences between the ways that speakers of different varieties of English understand the meanings of such words? This module explores how meaning is culture-bound, and helps students understand cultural differences in the choice and use of words.

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