New Benjamins title: Goddard Cross-Linguistic Semantics

Paul Peranteau paul at
Thu Jun 19 17:28:22 UTC 2008

Cross-Linguistic Semantics

Edited by Cliff Goddard
University of New England

Studies in Language Companion Series 102

2008. xvi, 356 pp.

Hardbound 978 90 272 0569 8 / EUR 120.00 / USD 180.00

Cross-linguistic semantics – investigating how languages package and 
express meanings differently – is central to the linguistic quest to 
understand the nature of human language. This set of studies explores 
and demonstrates cross-linguistic semantics as practised in the 
natural semantic metalanguage (NSM) framework, originated by Anna 
Wierzbicka. The opening chapters give a state-of-the-art overview of 
the NSM model, propose several theoretical innovations and advance a 
number of original analyses in connection with names and naming, 
clefts and other specificational sentences, and discourse anaphora. 
Subsequent chapters describe and analyse diverse phenomena in ten 
languages from multiple families, geographical locations, and 
cultural settings around the globe. Three substantial studies 
document how the metalanguage of NSM semantic primes can be realised 
in languages of widely differing types: Amharic (Ethiopia), Korean, 
and East Cree. Each constitutes a lexicogrammatical portrait in 
miniature of the language concerned. Other chapters probe topics such 
as inalienable possession in Koromu (Papua New Guinea), epistemic 
verbs in Swedish, hyperpolysemy in Bunuba (Australia), the expression 
of "momentariness" in Berber, ethnogeometry in Makasai (East Timor), 
value concepts in Russian, and "virtuous emotions" in Japanese. This 
book will be valuable for linguists working on language description, 
lexical semantics, or the semantics of grammar, for advanced students 
of linguistics, and for others interested in language universals and 
language diversity.


Table of contents

List of contributors
List of tables, figures and appendices
Part I. The Natural Semantic Metalanguage theory
1. Natural Semantic Metalanguage: The state of the art
Cliff Goddard
2. New semantic primes and new syntactic frames: "Specificational BE" 
and "abstract THIS/IT"
Cliff Goddard and Anna Wierzbicka
3. Towards a systematic table of semantic elements
Cliff Goddard
Part II. Whole metalanguage studies
4. Semantic primes in Amharic
Mengistu Amberber
5. The Natural Semantic Metalanguage of Korean
Kyung-Joo Yoon
6. Semantic primes and their grammar in a polysynthetic language: East Cree
Marie-Odile Junker
Part III. Problems in semantic metalanguage
7. Hyperpolysemy in Bunuba, a polysynthetic language of the 
Kimberley, Western Australia
Emily Knight
8. Re-thinking THINK in contrastive perspective: Swedish vs. English
Cliff Goddard and Susanna Karlsson
9. Identification and syntax of semantic prime MOMENT in Tarifyt Berber
Noureddine Elouazizi and Radoslava Trnavac
Part IV. Semantic studies across languages
10. The ethnogeometry of Makasai (East Timor)
Anna Brotherson
11. The semantics of "inalienable possession" in Koromu (PNG)
Carol Priestley
12. Tolerance: New and traditional values in Russian in comparison 
with English
Anna Gladkova
13. Two "virtuous emotions" in Japanese: Nasake/joo and jihi
Rie Hasada


Subject classification
  Theoretical linguistics

Paul Peranteau (paul at
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