Helen Bromhead

Helen Bromhead is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, undertaking a research project on climate and extreme weather in Australian public discourse. She is also an Honorary Lecturer in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, The Australian National University. She is the author of Landscape and Culture – Cross-linguistic Perspectives (John Benjamins, 2018) and The Reign of Truth and Faith: Epistemic Expressions in 16th and 17th Century English (Mouton de Gruyter, 2009).

orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2675-7266

Meaning, Life and Culture »

In conversation with Anna Wierzbicka

Publication date: December 2020
This book is dedicated to Anna Wierzbicka, one of the most influential and innovative linguists of her generation. Her work spans a number of disciplines, including anthropology, cultural psychology, cognitive science, philosophy and religious studies, as well as her home base of linguistics. She is best known for the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach to meaning—a versatile tool for exploring ‘big questions’ concerning the diversity and universals of people’s experience in the world. In this volume, Anna Wierzbicka’s former students, old and current colleagues, ‘kindred spirits’ and ‘sparring partners’ engage with her ideas and diverse body of work. These authors cover topics from the grammar of action verbs to cross-cultural pragmatics, and over 30 languages from around the world are represented. The chapters in Part 1 focus on the NSM approach and cover four themes: lexico-grammatical semantics, cultural keywords, semantics of nouns, and emotion. In Part 2, the contributors connect with a meaning-based approach from their own intellectual perspectives, including syntax, anthropology, cognitive linguistics and sociolinguistics. The deep humanistic perspective, wide-ranging themes and interdisciplinary nature of Wierzbicka’s research are reflected in the contributions. The common thread running through all chapters is the primacy of meaning to the understanding of language and culture.