chapter  25
17 Pages

Semantics and pragmatic conceptualizations within an emerging variety: Farzad Sharifian

ByPersian English

This chapter presents a semantic-pragmatic account of Persian English, an emerging variety of English among Persian speakers, from the perspective of cultural conceptualizations. Cultural conceptualizations are conceptual structures such as schemas, categories, and metaphors that emerge from the interactions between members of a cultural group. The chapter elaborates on a number of significant Persian cultural schemas, such as âberu and târof, and explores how they underlie the semantic and pragmatic aspects of certain words and expressions in Persian English, in contexts both of intercultural and intracultural communication. The study calls for similar explorations of cultural conceptualizations in other varieties of English, to provide a basis for improving people’s metacultural competence, a competence which is needed for successful communication in those contexts in which English functions as an international language. Numerous books and journal articles have been published dealing with the linguistic,

sociolinguistic and sociopolitical aspects of the spread of English world-wide. However, there is a place for approaching World Englishes from the point of view of other recent advances in the study of language, such as cognitive linguistics and cultural linguistics (Sharifian 2006; Polzenhagen and Wolf 2007; Wolf, this volume). This chapter explores the study of World Englishes from the emerging perspective of cultural conceptualizations (Sharifian, 2003, 2008a). As a preamble, the following section elaborates on the notion of cultural conceptualizations, followed by examples of the application of this framework to the study of Aboriginal English and African English. The remaining sections of the chapter will discuss how the semantic and pragmatic aspects of Persian English may be characterized in terms of Persian cultural conceptualizations.