In the last week of May 2010 Dept. of Linguistics will be visited by Prof. Cliff Goddard (School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences & Language and Cognition Research Centre, University of New England, Australia). During that period Prof. Goddard will give a public lecture and two data sessions devoted to Natural Semantic Metalanguage, an influential semantic theory developed by Anna Wierzbicka and Cliff Goddard, cf.

NSM Homepage:
Language and Cognition Research Centre (LCRC):

A Public Lecture

"NSM perspectives on lexical typology, with special reference to English verbs of physical activity."

Cliff Goddard, University of New England, Australia

Date and time: Thursday May 27th, 15-17


Place: C 307

The seminar will describe and illustrate current analytical techniques in Natural Semantic Metalanguage (including semantic primes, semantic molecules, and semantic templates). Primary examples will be complex physical activity verbs involving instruments ('cut', 'chop', 'grind', etc.) and verbs of locomotion (walk, run, etc.). Issues include the appropriate choice of 'root' form (NSM researchers favour using the imperfective), structure of the semantic template (lexico-syntactic frame, prototypical motivation, manner, potential outcome), and the question of how to relate the root imperfective form to other uses, including to language-specific syntactic alternations. It will be argued that the best basis for cross-linguistic comparison is provided by "model" lexico-syntactic frames and prototypical motivations, spelt out in terms of semantic primes and molecules.

Two Data Sessions:

"Semantic analysis using NSM method" Date and time: Wednesday May 26th, 10-12, and Thursday May 27th, 10-12
Place: C 307

These two sessions are intended to develop skills in the "how to" aspect of lexical semantics, using the NSM approach. That is, how do we go from data (examples of how words are used in context, intuitions, differing implications of similar words, etc.) to satisfactory reductive paraphrases (explications)? This is a complex business involving various component sub-skills, and it is best learnt in a "hand on" fashion. In these two sessions we look into the meanings of some speech-act verbs (such as English 'suggest', 'recommend', and 'ask') and interjections (such as English 'yuck', 'oh', and 'ouch') and, if possible, into similar verbs and interjections in Swedish.

Those who are interested in participating in the data sessions are kindly requested to contact Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm, since there will most probably be some background material distributed before the event.