See also: EMIC


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Coined by American linguist Kenneth Pike in 1954 from phonemic.

  • 1982, Kenneth Lee Pike, Linguistic Concepts: An Introduction to Tagmemics, page 44:
    Generalizing from phonemics, I coined the term emic in 1954.



emic (comparative more emic, superlative most emic)

  1. (social sciences) Of or pertaining to the analysis of a cultural system or its features from the perspective of a participant in that culture.
    • 1996, Advanced Methodological Issues in Culturally Competent Evaluation for Substance Abuse Prevention:
      A useful example of the emic-etic distinction may be made by comparing the concept “waves on the ocean or sea” from the perspective of a European American with that of a Truk Islander [] The proposed etics here might be that both cultures understand the use of waves as vehicles for surfing and as movement reflecting the transfer of energy [] certain differences, or emics exist, for European Americans the waves may be sources of beauty — the Truk Islander has learned to use them [] as a road map.

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