Language, memory, and concepts of memory: semantic diversity and scientific psychology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In a theoretical commentary on the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach to the semantics of memory and remembering, this paper argues that evidence of rich cross-linguistic diversity in this domain is entirely compatible with the best interpretations of our interdisciplinary cognitive sciences. In particular, it responds to Anna Wierzbicka's critique of contemporary psychology, suggests some specific modifications to her proposed explications of some ways of talking about what happened before, and questions her claim that certain historically contingent features of modern Western views of memory are built in to the semantics of English terms. The paper concludes by suggesting a different approach to semantic diversity and the study of memory, and a more positive vision of a culturally-sensitive interdisciplinary science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Language of memory in a crosslinguistic perspective
EditorsMengistu Amberber
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9789027223753
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Publication series

NameHuman Cognitive Processing
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Co.


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