1887
Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2214-3157
  • E-ISSN: 2214-3165
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Abstract

Abstract

The paper argues in favor of including cultural aspects in the description of communicative interaction. According to Eco (1976), a linguistic sign is a cultural unit. In order to use it properly, a speaker relies on communicative experience with this unit within a culture (Wittgenstein 1960Feilke 19961998Everett 2012). We expand the notion of ‘cultural unit’ by including internet memes found in social media (Shifman 20132014Diedrichsen 2013a2013b2019a2019b). The term builds on Richard Dawkins’ 1976 definition of a ‘meme’ as a unit that is the cultural equivalent of a biological gene. The paper proposes three knowledge sources for the production and comprehension of these units. The first is semiotic knowledge, the second is common ground knowledge (Clark 1996), and the third knowledge source involves culturally shared cognitive conceptualizations on which word meanings and other linguistic conventions are founded (Sharifian 2003201120152017). These three knowledge sources are established through daily interactions and learning processes within a culture (Kecskés and Zhang 2009). The paper characterizes the application of these three knowledge sources for a variety of sign uses. We will also show that a cultural view on pragmatics, as suggested by Sharifian (2017), serves to describe speech acts by identifying their culturally based source. The paper therefore demonstrates that the inclusion of cultural knowledge enables a perspective on communication that goes beyond the analysis of spoken and written words within communities of speakers, as it includes emerging means of communicative interaction in the digital age.

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2020-07-08
2020-08-07
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): common ground , cultural unit , internet memes , pragmatics and semiotics
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