All people eat and drink. Does this mean that 'eat' and 'drink' are universal human concepts?
Eating and drinking are, one might say, human universals. Or so it may seem to speakers of English, and other European languages. But what would a Kalam, or a Warlpiri linguist say about it, given that Kalam and Warlpiri have no word meaning ‘eat’ and no word meaning ‘drink’? No doubt, he/she would say that <i>ñb</i>- (Kalam, roughly ‘eat/drink’) or <i>ngarni </i>(Warlpiri, roughly ‘eat/drink’) is a human universal. This paper argues that describing languages like Kalam and Warlpiri through the prism of the English words <i>eat </i>and <i>drink </i>is Eurocentric and it proposes to complement such an Eurocentric approach with a more neutral one, based on empirically established conceptual universals such as <i>body, part, do, </i>and <i>inside</i> (cf. Goddard & Wierzbicka eds 2002; Wierzbicka 2007)