Anna Wierzbicka

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Anna Wierzbicka
Born (1938-03-10) March 10, 1938 (age 76)
Warsaw, Poland
Main interests semantics, pragmatics, and cross-cultural linguistics
Notable ideas Natural Semantic Metalanguage

Anna Wierzbicka [ˈanna vʲɛʐˈbʲitska] (born in 1938 in Poland) is a Polish linguist currently working at the Australian National University. She also lectures at Warsaw University and Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland. She studied at Warsaw University. In 1972 she moved from Poland to Australia.

Wierzbicka is famous for her work in semantics, pragmatics, and cross-cultural linguistics. She is especially known for Natural Semantic Metalanguage, particularly the concept of semantic primes. This is a research agenda resembling Leibniz's original "alphabet of human thought", which Wierzbicka credits her colleague, linguist Andrzej Bogusławski, with reviving in the late 1960s.[1]



  • Experience, Evidence, and Sense: The Hidden Cultural Legacy of English (2010). ISBN 0-19-536801-0
  • English: Meaning and culture (2006). ISBN 0-19-517474-7
  • What Did Jesus Mean? Explaining the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables in simple and universal human concepts (2001).
  • Emotions Across Languages and Cultures: Diversity and universals (1999).
  • Understanding Cultures Through Their Key Words: English, Russian, Polish, German, Japanese (1997).
  • Semantics: Primes and Universals (1996).
  • Semantics, Culture and Cognition: Universal human concepts in culture-specific configurations (1992).
  • Cross-cultural pragmatics: The semantics of human interaction (1991).
  • The Semantics of Grammar (1988).
  • English Speech Act Verbs: A semantic dictionary (1987).
  • Lexicography and Conceptual Analysis (1985).
  • The Case for Surface Case (1980).
  • Lingua Mentalis: The semantics of natural language (1980).
  • Semantic Primitives (1972).


  • "The language of life and death". Quadrant 39 (7-8): 21–25. (Jul-Aug 1995). 
  • "The language of "bullying" and "harassment"". Quadrant 53 (12): 102–107. Dec 2009. 
  • "Moral absolutes and the multiplicity of languages". Quadrant 55 (12): 81–88. Dec 2011. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Interviewer: Maria Zijlstra (2009-08-15). "Natural Semantic Metalanguage". [[1]]. Transcript. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

External links[edit]