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emic Syllabification: e·mic
Pronunciation: /ˈēmik/

Definition of emic in English:


Relating to or denoting an approach to the study or description of a particular language or culture in terms of its internal elements and their functioning rather than in terms of any existing external scheme. Often contrasted with etic.
Example sentences
  • Ethnographers commonly make a distinction between the etic and emic dimensions of the study of cultural practices, which reflects the difference between the structural and reflective dimensions of meaning.
  • Related to the problems of anachronism and ethnocentrism is the distinction between emic and etic terms.
  • In ethnographic studies, the orientation of the researcher is termed etic or emic.

plural noun

(emics) [treated as singular] Back to top  
Study adopting this approach.
Example sentences
  • If the different perspectives characterized as emics or etics are ignored or conflated, the theoretical aims and empirical data of the study will be rendered worthless.


1950s: abstracted from such words as phonemic (see phoneme) and systemic.

Definition of emic in:
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