Meaning and Universal Grammar

Theory and empirical findings

Volume 1

ORCID logoCliff Goddard | The University of New England
ORCID logoAnna Wierzbicka | The Australian National University
ISBN 9789027230638 (Eur) | EUR 120.00
ISBN 9781588112644 (USA) | USD 180.00
ISBN 9789027281876 | EUR 120.00 | USD 180.00
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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
“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

Cited by 38 other publications

Asano-Cavanagh, Yuko
2016. Being ‘indecisive’ in Japanese. Studies in Language 40:1  pp. 63 ff. DOI logo
Aznárez-Mauleón, Mónica
2020. La fórmula de rechazo ¡Vete a … ! en español peninsular. Una propuesta de análisis desde la Metalengua Semántica Natural (NSM) . Pragmática Sociocultural / Sociocultural Pragmatics 7:3  pp. 421 ff. DOI 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. DOI logo
Forbes, Alexander
2020. Using Minimal English to Model a Parental Understanding of Autism. In Studies in Ethnopragmatics, Cultural Semantics, and Intercultural Communication,  pp. 143 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff
2004. The ethnopragmatics and semantics of ‘active metaphors’. Journal of Pragmatics 36:7  pp. 1211 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff
2005. Componential analysis. In Handbook of Pragmatics,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff
2011. The lexical semantics of language (with special reference to words). Language Sciences 33:1  pp. 40 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff
2015. The complex, language-specific semantics of “surprise”. Review of Cognitive Linguistics 13:2  pp. 291 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff
2021. In Praise of Minimal Languages. In Minimal Languages in Action,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff
2022. Componential analysis. In Handbook of Pragmatics [Handbook of Pragmatics, ],  pp. 229 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff, Ulla Vanhatalo, Amie A. Hane & Martha G. Welch
2021. Adapting the Welch Emotional Connection Screen (WECS) into Minimal English and Seven Other Minimal Languages. In Minimal Languages in Action,  pp. 225 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff & Anna Wierzbicka
2016. Explicating the English lexicon of ‘doing and happening’. Functions of Language 23:2  pp. 214 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff, Anna Wierzbicka & Jock Wong
2016. “Walking” and “running” in English and German. Review of Cognitive Linguistics 14:2  pp. 303 ff. DOI logo
Goddard, Cliff & Zhengdao Ye
2016. Exploring “happiness” and “pain” across languages and cultures. In "Happiness" and "Pain" across Languages and Cultures [Benjamins Current Topics, 84],  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Habib, Sandy
2020. Heaven and Hell Are Here! The Non-religious Meanings of English Heaven and Hell and Their Arabic and Hebrew Counterparts. In Studies in Ethnopragmatics, Cultural Semantics, and Intercultural Communication,  pp. 149 ff. DOI logo
Habib, Sandy
2022. The Ethnopragmatics of Jish Arabic-speaking culture. Pragmatics and Society 13:1  pp. 67 ff. DOI logo
Iza Erviti, Aneider
2021. From Discourse Markers to Construction Grammar(s) in Discourse. In Discourse Constructions in English [Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics, ],  pp. 7 ff. DOI logo
Johansson, Niklas
2017. Tracking linguistic primitives. In Dimensions of Iconicity [Iconicity in Language and Literature, 15], DOI 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. DOI logo
Mróz, Małgorzata
2011. Bilingual Language Acquisition: Focus on Relative Clauses in Polish and English, DOI logo
Neale, Miles
2015. A Comparison of English and Japanese Proverbs Using Natural Semantic Metalanguage. New Voices in Japanese Studies 7  pp. 85 ff. DOI logo
Ngai, Sing Sing
2015. Giving is receiving. In Causation, Permission, and Transfer [Studies in Language Companion Series, 167],  pp. 253 ff. DOI logo
Prabhaswari, Putu Indry, Made Budiarsa & Ida Ayu Made Puspani
2021. THE WORD “SHOOT” ANALYZED BY NATURAL SEMANTIC METALANGUAGE. International Journal of Language and Literature 5:2  pp. 66 ff. DOI logo
Reiner, Tabea
2021. Comparative concepts are not a different kind of thing. In Linguistic Categories, Language Description and Linguistic Typology [Typological Studies in Language, 132],  pp. 211 ff. DOI logo
Romero-Trillo, Jesús & Irina Rozina
2023. Is there justice in this world? A cross-cultural pragmatic analysis of the conceptualisation of ‘justice’. Journal of Multicultural Discourses 18:1  pp. 62 ff. DOI logo
Smedslund, Geir, Jan Ketil Arnulf & Jan Smedslund
2022. Is psychological science progressing? Explained variance in PsycINFO articles during the period 1956 to 2022. Frontiers in Psychology 13 DOI 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. DOI logo
Catherine Travis
2003. The semantics of the Spanish subjunctive: Its use in the natural semantic metalanguage. cogl 14:1  pp. 47 ff. DOI logo
Viberg, Åke
2006. Towards a lexical profile of the Swedish verb lexicon. Language Typology and Universals 59:1_2006  pp. 103 ff. DOI logo
Wierzbicka, Anna
2008. Why there are no ‘colour universals’ in language and thought. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 14:2  pp. 407 ff. DOI logo
Wierzbicka, Anna
2015. A whole cloud of culture condensed into a drop of semantics. International Journal of Language and Culture 2:1  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Wierzbicka, Anna
2016. Making sense of terms of address in European languages through the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM). Intercultural Pragmatics 13:4  pp. 499 ff. DOI logo
Wong, Jock
2016. A Critical Look at the Description of Speech Acts. In Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society [Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, 4],  pp. 825 ff. DOI logo
Ye, Zhengdao
2016. The meaning of “happiness” (xìngfú) and “emotional pain” (tòngkŭ) in Chinese. In "Happiness" and "Pain" across Languages and Cultures [Benjamins Current Topics, 84],  pp. 65 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 17 may 2024. 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.


Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2002066538 | Marc record