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The Utility of Meaning – What Words Mean and Why - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Utility of Meaning: What Words Mean and Why

N. J. Enfield


This book uses semantic and pragmatic case studies to argue that the anthropocentric and culture-grounded nature of language is a product of its social utility. It brings together several key strands of research across disciplines ranging from semantics, pragmatics, and cognitive linguistics, to historical semantics, usage analysis, and the sociology of language. The book contains empirical studies in semantic fields including emotion terms, culinary terms, spatial verbs and prepositions, verbs of cutting and breaking, landscape terminology, serial verb constructions, honorific pronouns, and w ... More

Keywords: semantics, pragmatics, meaning, culture, cognition, Lao language, Laos, linguistic anthropology, fieldwork

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780198709831
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709831.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

N. J. Enfield, author
Max Planck Institute Nijmegen