'Den hvide løgn' i dansk sprogkultur

Sara Kamna Rested Suri, Emil Strunge Larsen, Ida Marie Kold, Kasper Højmose Poulsen & Josefine Amalie Melchior Christiansen

Studenteropgave: Basisprojekt


This paper explores the Danish term “den hvide løgn” through an anthropological linguistic approach i.e: We perceive the practice of “den hvide løgn” as an index of a structure in Danish languaculture. The exploration of said practice is based on the following thesis question: “How is ‘den hvide løgn’ understood and which part does it play in politeness in Danish languaculture?”. Our findings suggest that ‘den hvide løgn’ semantically depends on the term ‘løgn’, however, they differ in regards to elements such as function, evaluation and gravity. Furthermore, “den hvide løgn” plays a significant part in Danish usage of the Positive Politeness Strategy, which relates to the High Considerateness Style that characterises Danish languaculture. Our examination of the thesis question is based on the empirical data we’ve collected through our Semantic Consultation. We approach the subject from both a universalist and ethnopragmatic point of view. The universalist approach attempts to describe the linguistic practice through a set of assumed universal patterns of interaction, while the ethnopragmatic approach attempts to describe the linguistic practice in a manner that is semantically equal to the original semantic meaning of the linguistic practice. 
Through our ethnopragmatic examination of the empirical data, we’ve constructed an NSM explication that in an exhaustive manner paraphrases the semantic content of the term “den hvide løgn”. Furthermore, we have constructed a set of Cultural Scripts that lay out the patterns of interaction relating to “den hvide løgn”, specifically three of its functions. 
The paper further examines how “den hvide løgn” relates to universalist pragmatic theories including: Brown & Levinson’s Politeness Theory (1978), Deborah Tannen’s Conversational Styles (1981), and the term Hierarchy of Values, as explained by Anna Wierzbicka (2003). Through our universalist analysis we’ve discovered that “den hvide løgn” represents the Danish tendency to favour consensus and protect the interlocutors’ positive and negative faces. This is due to the priority of these elements in our hierarchy of values. These findings strongly support the notion that Danish languaculture is characterised by a ‘High Considerateness Style’. This contrasts the hierarchy of values evident in e.g. the New York-Jewish speech community, which favors a bald on-record approach to conversation - coined ‘High Involvement Style’ by Tannen.

UddannelserBasis - Humanistisk Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato18 dec. 2018
Antal sider48
VejledereCarsten Levisen


  • NSM
  • Politeness
  • Face work
  • Hierarchy of values
  • Practice
  • den hvide løgn
  • cultural scripts
  • languaculture
  • Emil Strunge
  • politeness strategies
  • conversational styles
  • consensus
  • JMC
  • ethnopragmatics
  • universalism
  • pragmatics