Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1877-9751
  • E-ISSN: 1877-976X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


In the NSM approach to semantic analysis, semantic molecules are a well-defined set of non-primitive lexical meanings in a given language that function as intermediate-level units in the structure of complex meanings in that language. After reviewing existing work on the molecules concept (including the notion of levels of nesting), the paper advances a provisional list of about 180 productive semantic molecules for English, suggesting that a small minority of these (about 25) may be universal. It then turns close attention to a set of potentially universal level-one molecules from the “environmental” domain (‘sky’, ‘ground’, ‘sun’, ‘day’, ‘night’ ‘water’ and ‘fire’), proposing a set of original semantic explications for them. Finally, the paper considers the theoretical implications of the molecule theory for our understanding of semantic complexity, cross-linguistic variation in the structure of the lexicon, and the translatability of semantic explications.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): lexical semantics; NSM; semantic molecules; semantic primes; semantic universals
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error