Anna Wierzbicka, Words and the World

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This introduction to the Special Issue summarises Anna Wierzbicka’s contribution to the linguistic study of meaning. It presents the foundations of the approach known as the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) developed by Wierzbicka. The current state of the approach is discussed in the article with the ideas of 65 semantic primitives, universal grammar and the principle of reductive paraphrase in semantic explications. It traces the origin of Wierzbicka’s ideas to Leibniz. The framework has been tested on about thirty languages of diverse origin. The applications of the approach are broad and encompass lexical areas of emotions, social categories, speech act verbs, mental states, artefacts and animals, verbs of motion, kinship terms (among others), as well as grammatical constructions.

About the authors

Anna N Gladkova

Monash University; Australian National University

Author for correspondence.

Lecturer in English as an International Language at Monash University and an Honorary Lecturer in Linguistics at the Australian National University. She received her PhD in Linguistics from the Australian National University. Her research interests include semantics, pragmatics, language and culture interface, cognitive linguistics and Natural Semantic Metalanguage. She has taught linguistics and applied linguistics at the Australian National University and University of New England (Australia) as well as University of Sussex and University of Brighton (United Kingdom). She is member of the Editorial Board of Corpus Pragmatics and Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics (Springer).

20 Chancellors Walk, Clayton Campus, Monash University; Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia

Tatiana V Larina

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)


Full Professor at RUDN University, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Russian Journal of Linguistics. Her research interests embrace language, culture and communication; intercultural pragmatics, intercultural communication, communicative ethnostyles, and (im)politeness theory. Key publications: Kategoriya vezhlivosti i stil' kommunikatsii: sopostavlenie angliiskikh i russkikh lingvokul'turnykh traditsii, Moscow, 2009; Anglichane i russkie: Yazyk, kul'tura, kommunikatsiya, Moscow, 2013; Osnovy mezhkul'turnoi kommunikatsii, Moscow, 2017; Culture-Specific Communicative Styles as a Framework for Interpreting Linguistic and Cultural Idiosyncrasies // International Review of Pragmatics, 7 (3), 195-215, 2015.

6, Miklukho-Maklaya, 117198, Moscow, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2018 Gladkova A.N., Larina T.V.

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