Semantics, Culture, and Cognition: Universal Human Concepts in Culture-Specific Configurations

Paperback | March 1, 1996

byAnna Wierzbicka

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Not everything that can be said in one language can be said in another. The lexicons of different languages seem to suggest different conceptual universes. Investigating cultures from a universal, language-independent perspective, this book rejects analytical tools derived from the Englishlanguage and Anglo culture and proposes instead a "natural semantic metalanguage" formulated in English words but based on lexical universals. The outcome of two and a half decades of research, the metalanguage is made up of universal semantic primitives in terms of which all meanings--including themost culture-specific ones--can be described and compared in a precise and illuminating way. Integrating insights from linguistics, cultural anthropology, and cognitive psychology, and written in simple, non-technical language, Semantics, Culture, and Cognition is accessible not only to scholars andstudents, but also to the general reader interested in semantics and the relationship between language and culture.

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Not everything that can be said in one language can be said in another. The lexicons of different languages seem to suggest different conceptual universes. Investigating cultures from a universal, language-independent perspective, this book rejects analytical tools derived from the Englishlanguage and Anglo culture and proposes instead...

Anna Wierzbicka is at Australian National University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 9.17 × 6.14 × 1.26 inPublished:March 1, 1996Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195073266

ISBN - 13:9780195073263

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"Astounding in its eclecticism, [the book] has set a standard that exceeds the more traditional approaches used in texts.--Joan Wylie, University of Guam

Editorial Reviews

"Hard to put down."--Studies in Second Language Acquisition