I would like to begin by briefly reviewing the assumptions and hypotheses the NSM approach is based on. The goal of this exercise is to understand how these are interrelated, what hinges on every one of them, and what consequences arise from discarding an assumption or disproving a hypothesis. This process defines a number of projects which all agree up to some point and then depart. Prima facie, all of these constitute legitimate avenues of inquiry. My aim is to evaluate the decisions made within the NSM program vis-à-vis these alternatives, and to do so from a particular perspective – that of a field worker dedicated to the study of semantics in Non-Indo-European languages and of a semantic typologist interested in variation and universals of semantic representations across languages. It should be clear from the outset that NSM has made contributions to the crosslinguistic perspective in semantics unsurpassed by those of any other framework (in particular, Goddard & Wierzbicka (eds.) 1994, 2002; Goddard (ed.) 1997) – so my interest should not come as a surprise.
© Walter de Gruyter