The Natural Semantic Metalanguage Approach

Cliff Goddard

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199544004
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

The Natural Semantic Metalanguage Approach


The Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) is a decompositional system of meaning representation based on empirically established universal semantic primes, i.e., simple indefinable meanings that appear to be present as word meanings in all languages. The NSM approach has developed a fairly sophisticated suite of theoretical constructs, which are explained and illustrated in this chapter. These constructs include semantic primes, allolexy, syntactic frames and valency options of primes, semantic templates, semantic molecules, semantic prototypes for grammatical constructs, grammatical polysemy, ethnosyntax, and cultural scripts.

Keywords: Natural Semantic Metalanguage; decompositional system; meaning representation; semantic primes

Article.  10523 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Semantics

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