Cross-linguistic Semantics

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Cliff Goddard
John Benjamins Publishing, 2008 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 356 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

The Natural Semantic Metalanguage theory
1
Towards a systematic table of semantic elements
59
Scalar modification
77
Further work
78
Whole metalanguage studies 4 Semantic primes in Amharic
83
Substantives
85
Determiners
87
Quantifiers
89
Some theoretical challenges
176
Missing exponents and combinations
184
Using Cree NSM
197
Problems in semantic metalanguage
205
Swedish vs English
225
Languagespecific peculiarities of English think
233
Using Swedish NSM to explicate English epistemic verbs
235
Conclusions
238

Evaluators
91
Descriptors
92
Speech
97
Actions events movement contact
99
Location existence possession specification
102
Life and death
104
Time
106
Space
110
Logical concepts
113
Intensifier and augmentor
115
Taxonomy and partonomy
116
Similarity
117
Concluding remarks
118
The Natural Semantic Metalanguage of Korean
121
Substantives
123
Determiners
127
Quantifiers
129
Evaluators
133
Descriptors
134
Mental predicates
135
Speech
139
Actions events movement contact
141
Location existence possession specification
143
Life and death
147
Identification and syntax of semantic prime moMEnt in Tarifyt Berber
241
Typological overview of Tarifyt Berber
242
Semantic primes in Tarifyt Berber
246
Semantic prime moMEnt in Tarifyt Berber
250
Concluding remarks
256
Semantic studies across languages 10 The ethnogeometry of Makasai East Timor
259
Previous NSM studies on shape
262
Shapeoriented sets in Makasai
263
Semantic analysis of Makasai shape adjectives
264
Conclusions
274
The semantics of inalienable possession in Koromu PNG
277
Koromu personnumber forms
279
Parts of things
281
Kinship
283
Partially animate nominal constructions
288
Conclusions
296
New and traditional values in Russian in comparison with English
301
Terpet and terpimyj
304
To tolerate and tolerant in English
317
Tolerantnyj and tolerantnost in contemporary Russian
324
Concluding remarks
326
Nasakejoo andjihi
331
Author index
349
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