In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Cross-Cultural Pragmatics

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Linguistics Cross-Cultural Pragmatics
Anna Gladkova
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 October 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0313


Cross-cultural pragmatics (CCP) is an area of linguistics that studies natural language use in a contrastive perspective accounting for cultural factors. “Natural language” here is interpreted in its relation to culture. By culture, people’s shared ways of living, thinking, feeling, doing things, and speaking are understood. CCP is a relatively recent field in linguistics, and it is not uniform either. It lies at the intersection of pragmatics, contrastive linguistics, and anthropological linguistics or ethnolinguistics, and its different realizations also intersect with cognitive studies and sociolinguistics. The approaches here stem from different areas of linguistic studies and emphasize different aspects of language use—pragmatics, on the one hand, and social, cultural, and anthropological approaches, on the other. At the same time, the possibility of providing a contrastive perspective in the analysis is crucial. Therefore, approaches to studying cross-cultural pragmatics can be broadly divided into two trends—linguo-philosophical and sociocultural or anthropological. The linguo-philosophical trend accepts the main postulates of pragmatics as a field and uses them as grids of comparison. Sociocultural approaches analyze language use in its close relation to culture and society. This article will consider the following approaches within each trend: Politeness Theory and Contrastive Pragmatics as the linguo-philosophical trend, and Ethnopragmatics, Intercultural Pragmatics, Pragmatic Act Theory, Cultural Linguistics, The Moscow School of Semantics and the Lublin School of Linguistic Worldview Studies, and Postcolonial Pragmatics as the sociocultural trend.


There is an array of journals covering issues relating to CCP. Intercultural Pragmatics publishes on theoretical and applied pragmatics through the prism of different approaches, as well as intercultural competence. International Journal of Language and Culture explores the intersection between language and culture from the perspective of different frameworks across several disciplines. Contrastive Pragmatics: A Cross-Disciplinary Journal focuses on comparative and contrastive research on the use of language forms, realization of speech acts, and forms of interactional behavior across and within linguacultures. Journal of Pragmatics is the longest-established journal in the field, publishing on a broad spectrum of issues, including contrastive research on language use with a cultural focus. Pragmatics and Society focuses on the social factors affecting language use, which also includes the aspects of culture’s effect on language. Multilingua—Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication favors interdisciplinary approaches to linguistic diversity in social life.

  • Contrastive Pragmatics: A Cross-Disciplinary Journal.

    An open-access journal that publishes comparative and contrastive research on the use of language forms, realization of speech acts, and forms of interactional behavior across and within linguacultures. Focuses on corpus-driven research in different areas of linguistics and applied linguistics—pragmatics, translation, intercultural communication, sociolinguistics, and language teaching and learning.

  • International Journal of Language and Culture.

    A multidisciplinary journal that provides a venue for researchers interested in the interaction between language and culture across several disciplines—applied and theoretical linguistics, anthropology, psychology, and cognitive science. Among other areas, it publishes research on the relationship between language and culture, language structure and conceptualization, emotion, language acquisition and development, and communication.

  • Intercultural Pragmatics.

    Publishes work in theoretical and applied pragmatics, with a special focus on intercultural competence in more than one language and culture, or varieties of one language. Open to research approaching issues in intercultural pragmatics from a variety of perspectives—linguistic, cognitive, social, and interlinguistic, as well as interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary research in anthropology, theoretical and applied linguistics, psychology, communication, sociolinguistics, second and foreign language acquisition, and bi- and multilingualism.

  • Journal of Pragmatics.

    The longest-established high-impact journal in the field. It is the widest in terms of its scope in the sense that it publishes research in pragmatics and encompasses its different aspects. Given its attention to different contexts of language use, it aims to publish research on different languages and cultures. While the cross-cultural aspect of pragmatics is not its main focus, articles in this field also are occasionally published.

  • Multilingua—Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication.

    Favors interdisciplinary approaches to linguistic diversity in social life. Specializes in providing a venue for international research from diverse sociolinguistic contexts worldwide.

  • Pragmatics and Society.

    Devoted to research on the interplay between language use and social normativity in general and society-oriented pragmatic studies in particular. Focuses on pragmatic studies as they interact with sociology, psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, and media studies. While comparative research is not of primary focus of this journal, it also publishes comparative research containing the analysis of the influence of cultural factors on language use.

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