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Words and MeaningsLexical Semantics Across Domains, Languages, and Cultures$
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Cliff Goddard and Anna Wierzbicka

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199668434

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199668434.001.0001

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Words, meaning, and methodology

Words, meaning, and methodology

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Words, meaning, and methodology
Source:
Words and Meanings
Author(s):

Cliff Goddard

Anna Wierzbicka

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199668434.003.0001

This chapter argues that the study of word meanings deserves a central place in linguistics for two reasons: first, because understanding words is essential to understanding how languages work, and, second, because words of different languages reflect and embody different human experiences, cultures and histories. It outlines the natural semantic metalanguage (NSM) methodology used throughout the book. Basically, the NSM method works by explaining complex culture-laden words in terms of simple concepts that are shared across languages. The chapter also draws out connections between lexical semantics in linguistics and various fields of study in the humanities.

Keywords:   lexical semantics, definitions, Anglocentrism, linguistics, NSM

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