Words and Meanings: Lexical Semantics across Domains, Languages and Cultures

Cliff Goddard, Anna Wierzbicka

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


    This book presents a series of systematic, empirically based studies of word meanings. Each chapter investigates key expressions drawn from different domains of the lexicon concrete, abstract, physical, sensory, emotional, and social. The examples chosen are complex and culturally important: they include the cross-linguistic semantics of basic social categories like men, women, and children, of physical qualities like hot, hard, and rough, of emotions like happiness, of words to express pain, of speech-acts including suggesting and apologising, and of abstract nouns including trauma, temperature and violence. The languages represented include English, Russian, Polish, French, Warlpiri and Malay. The book opens with a review of the neglected status of lexical semantics in linguistics and a discussion of the natural semantic metalanguage methodology used throughout the book. The authors consider a wide range of methodological and analytical issues including lexical polysemy, semantic change, the relationship between lexical and grammatical semantics, and the concepts of semantic molecules and templates. They ground their discussions in real examples from different cultures and draw on work ranging from Leibniz, Locke, and Bentham, to popular works such as autobiographies and memoirs, and the Dalai Lamas writings on happiness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationOxford and New York
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages314
    ISBN (Print)9780199668434
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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