Australian cultural scripts - Bloody revisited

Anna Wierzbicka*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    76 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper focusses on "the great Australian adjective" bloody and it shows that far from being meaningless, the humble bloody is packed with meaning; and that by unpacking this meaning we can throw a good deal of light on traditional Australian attitudes and values. It argues that the use of bloody furnishes an important clue to both the changes and continuity in Australian culture, society, and speech and also offers us a vantage point from which to investigate a whole network of Australian attitudes and values. Furthermore, the paper shows that the Australian use of bloody also illuminates some important theoretical issues, it demonstrates that frequently used and apparently "bleached" discourse markers do in fact have their own precise meaning, and that this meaning can be revealed by means of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM), based on empirically established universal human concepts. It also shows that once the precise meaning of such discourse markers is accurately portrayed, it can provide important clues to the values, attitudes, and modes of interaction characteristic of a given society or speech community.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1167-1209
    Number of pages43
    JournalJournal of Pragmatics
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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