After thirty years of language-internal, as well as cross-linguistic research, the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) model developed by Anna Wierzbicka and her colleagues has turned out to be a most useful theoretical and methodological framework for semantic analysis in various linguistic, and even non-linguistic, domains. This paper argues that the NSM approach to semantics constitutes a new paradigm in linguistic research which is free from various shortcomings of other semantic frameworks. The first section of this article provides a brief survey of the historical development of NSM theory from the early seventies up to the present stage. Its theoretical and methodological principles are outlined in sections two and three, before its applications in various domains are illustrated in section four by means of examples from a number of languages.
© Walter de Gruyter