Meaning and Universal Grammar

Theory and empirical findings

Volume 1

| The University of New England
| The Australian National University
ISBN 9789027230638 (Eur) | EUR 120.00
ISBN 9781588112644 (USA) | USD 180.00
ISBN 9789027281876 | EUR 120.00 | USD 180.00
This book develops a bold new approach to universal grammar, based on research findings of the natural semantic metalanguage (NSM) program. The key idea is that universal grammar is constituted by the inherent grammatical properties of some 60 empirically established semantic primes, which appear to have concrete exponents in all languages. For six typologically divergent languages (Mangaaba-Mbula, Mandarin Chinese, Lao, Malay, Spanish and Polish), contributors identify exponents of the primes and work through a substantial set of hypotheses about their combinatorics, valency properties, complementation options, etc. Each study can also be read as a semantically-based typological profile. Four theoretical chapters by the editors describe the NSM approach and its application to grammatical typology. As a study of empirical universals in grammar, this book is unique for its rigorous semantic orientation, its methodological consistency, and its wealth of cross-linguistic detail.
[Studies in Language Companion Series, 60]  2002.  xvi, 337 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
List of Contributors
List of Maps and Tables
Typographical Conventions and Symbols
Opening Statement
Cliff Goddard and Anna Wierzbicka
Part 1. General
1. The Search for the Shared Semantic Core of All Languages
Cliff Goddard
2. Semantic Primes and Universal Grammar
Cliff Goddard and Anna Wierzbicka
Part 2. Individual Language Studies
3. Semantic Primes and Universal Grammar in Malay (Bahasa Melayu)
Cliff Goddard
4. La Metalengua Semántica Natural : The Natural Semantic Metalanguage of Spanish
Catherine E. Travis
5. The Universal Syntax of Semantic Primes in Mandarin Chinese
Hilary Chappell
Index of Languages and Language Families
General Index
“Irrespective of theoretical orientation, one can only be impressed by the scope of the empirical investigation as well as the depth and insight of the resulting semantic descriptions. The theoretical tenets of Anna Wierzbicka's Natural Semantic Metalanguage approach are provocative and highly controversial. They focus attention on fundamental issues and force us to rethink the nature of linguistic meaning and psychologically plausible semantic descriptions. Linguists of all persuasions can profit from examining the analyses presented in this work, the theoretical proposals made, and their possible ramifications.”
“This is a very important work and represents a major advance in the understanding of the dependence of syntactic description on an explicit semantic analysis. This work is especially valuable because the role of semantics, particularly the lexical semantics of verbs, has become increasingly central in current formal theories of syntax, and few semantic theories are as well worked out as that presented here. Syntactic theorists would be well advised to study this book carefully before they glibly invoke vague (and potentially circular) semantic explanations for syntactic problems.”
“The entire book is written in a maximally clear and simple language. It invites the reader, in a friendly manner, into the creative laboratory, where there is being accomplished a wondrous process of reaching the complex through the simple. At the same time, it is a simplicity deeply thought through; behind it lies a professionalism of the highest order and many years of systematic thinking about the nature of human language.”
Cited by

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2015.  In The Semantics of Chinese Music [Cognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts, 5], Crossref logo
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2021.  In Defining with Simple Vocabulary in English Dictionaries [Terminology and Lexicography Research and Practice, 22], Crossref logo
Asano-Cavanagh, Yuko
2016. Being ‘indecisive’ in Japanese. Studies in Language 40:1  pp. 63 ff. Crossref logo
Bernardos Galindo, Mª del Socorro, Rocío Jiménez Briones & Mª Beatriz Pérez Cabello de Alba
Cortés-Rodriguez, Francisco J.
2016. Revisiting Aktionsart types for lexical classes. Review of Cognitive Linguistics 14:2  pp. 498 ff. Crossref logo
Erben Johansson, Niklas, Andrey Anikin, Gerd Carling & Arthur Holmer
2020. The typology of sound symbolism: Defining macro-concepts via their semantic and phonetic features . Linguistic Typology 24:2  pp. 253 ff. Crossref logo
Forbes, Alexander
2020.  In Studies in Ethnopragmatics, Cultural Semantics, and Intercultural Communication,  pp. 143 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff
2004. The ethnopragmatics and semantics of ‘active metaphors’. Journal of Pragmatics 36:7  pp. 1211 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff
2005.  In Handbook of Pragmatics,  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff
2011. The lexical semantics of language (with special reference to words). Language Sciences 33:1  pp. 40 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff
2015. The complex, language-specific semantics of “surprise”. Review of Cognitive Linguistics 13:2  pp. 291 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff
2021.  In Minimal Languages in Action,  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff, Ulla Vanhatalo, Amie A. Hane & Martha G. Welch
2021.  In Minimal Languages in Action,  pp. 225 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff & Anna Wierzbicka
2016. Explicating the English lexicon of ‘doing and happening’. Functions of Language 23:2  pp. 214 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff, Anna Wierzbicka & Jock Wong
2016. “Walking” and “running” in English and German. Review of Cognitive Linguistics 14:2  pp. 303 ff. Crossref logo
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2016.  In "Happiness" and "Pain" across Languages and Cultures [Benjamins Current Topics, 84],  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Habib, Sandy
2020.  In Studies in Ethnopragmatics, Cultural Semantics, and Intercultural Communication,  pp. 149 ff. Crossref logo
Iza Erviti, Aneider
2021.  In Discourse Constructions in English [Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics, ],  pp. 7 ff. Crossref logo
Johansson, Niklas
2017.  In Dimensions of Iconicity [Iconicity in Language and Literature, 15], Crossref logo
Kuo, Chiao-Ling & Jung-Hong Hong
2016. Interoperable cross-domain semantic and geospatial framework for automatic change detection. Computers & Geosciences 86  pp. 109 ff. Crossref logo
Mróz, Małgorzata
2011.  In Bilingual Language Acquisition: Focus on Relative Clauses in Polish and English, Crossref logo
Neale, Miles
2015. A Comparison of English and Japanese Proverbs Using Natural Semantic Metalanguage. New Voices in Japanese Studies 7  pp. 85 ff. Crossref logo
Ngai, Sing Sing
2015.  In Causation, Permission, and Transfer [Studies in Language Companion Series, 167],  pp. 253 ff. Crossref logo
Reiner, Tabea
2021.  In Linguistic Categories, Language Description and Linguistic Typology [Typological Studies in Language, 132],  pp. 211 ff. Crossref logo
Thompson, Bill, Seán G. Roberts & Gary Lupyan
2020. Cultural influences on word meanings revealed through large-scale semantic alignment. Nature Human Behaviour 4:10  pp. 1029 ff. Crossref logo
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2006. Towards a lexical profile of the Swedish verb lexicon. Language Typology and Universals 59:1_2006  pp. 103 ff. Crossref logo
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2015. A whole cloud of culture condensed into a drop of semantics. International Journal of Language and Culture 2:1  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
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2016. Making sense of terms of address in European languages through the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM). Intercultural Pragmatics 13:4  pp. 499 ff. Crossref logo
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2016.  In Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society [Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, 4],  pp. 825 ff. Crossref logo
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 15 september 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

Subjects & Metadata
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2002066538 | Marc record