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Semantics. Primes and Universals by Anna Wierzbicka

By Anna Wierzbicka

Conceptual primitives and semantic universals are the cornerstones of a semantic thought which Anna Wierzbicka has been constructing for a few years. Semantics: Primes and Universals is a massive synthesis of her paintings, providing a whole and systematic exposition of that concept in a non-technical and readable means. It delineates a whole set of common strategies, as they've got emerged from large-scale investigations throughout quite a lot of languages undertaken through the writer and her colleagues. at the foundation of empirical cross-linguistic experiences it vindicates the previous idea of the "psychic cohesion of mankind", whereas while supplying a framework for the rigorous description of alternative languages and cultures.

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Semantics. Primes and Universals

Conceptual primitives and semantic universals are the cornerstones of a semantic conception which Anna Wierzbicka has been constructing for a few years. Semantics: Primes and Universals is a huge synthesis of her paintings, featuring an entire and systematic exposition of that concept in a non-technical and readable means.

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Donald Brown (1991: 131) writes this about his imaginary "'Universal People" ('UP): However much grammar varies from language to language, some things are always present. For example, UP language includes a series of contrasting terms hat theoretically could be phrased in three different ways, but that are only p h r a d two ways. ). Logically, these alternatives are identical: each arrangement conveys the same inrannation. But . . the third possibility never omrmrs as the obligatory or common way of taEking.

You do a movie, and then if you have time, yau play, md then yon go. 2. BECAUSE According to Kant, causation-with time and spac~onsltitrutesone of the basic categories of human cognition; it is not a category that \ye learn from experience but one af the categories which underlie our interpretation of experience. Data from language acquisition, as well as from cross-cultural semantics, are consistent with Kant's view. ) From the point of view of language acquisition, too, it is significant that despite the highly abstract and "non-eapirical'kcharacter of the conoept of causality, becawe-sentences appear quite early in children" speech.

B have now repudiated such analyses, however, and for a number of reasons. g. Longacre 11985: 243). Swond, it has become cllear that the 'kelati~e"character of \the conoepts %bigband " d l ' can be awoun"yjed for without any comparatives, along the following lines: This is a big dog. = when I t h k of dogs, I think: this is a big dog As mentioned earlier, the words big and little appear very early in children" sspeech, and are used very frequently. For exarnpne, Braine (1976: 32) draws attention to a productive pattern of two-word combinations with the words big and littk in the speech of his son, Jonathan, before his second birthday.

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