Professor Anna Wierzbicka

PhD, Polish Academy of Sciences, 1964; Habilitation, Polish Academy of Sciences, 1969
Professor (Emerita, in Linguistics)
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Linguistics 2004
  • Language Studies 2003
  • Linguistic Structures (Incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) 200408
  • Translation And Interpretation Studies 200323
  • Philosophy Of Language 220313
  • Language In Culture And Society (Sociolinguistics) 200405
  • Comparative Language Studies 200322
  • Linguistic Anthropology 160103
  • Multicultural, Intercultural And Cross Cultural Studies 200209
  • Discourse And Pragmatics 200403
  • English Language 200302
  • Other European Languages 200310
  • Central And Eastern European Languages (Incl. Russian) 200304
  • Religious Studies 5004
  • Religion, Society And Culture 500405
  • Christian Studies (Incl. Biblical Studies And Church History) 220401
  • Cognition 520401
  • Theology 5005


Professor Anna Wierzbicka is a Professor in the Linguistics Program, School of Language Studies, Arts. In her 1972 book "Semantic Primitives" she launched a theory now known under the acronym "NSM" (Natural Semantic Metalanguage), which is now internationally recognized as one of the world's leading theories of language and meaning. This approach has been used in hundreads of semantic studies across many languages and cultures (NSM homepage, She has published over twenty books and edited or co-edited several others. Her work spans a number of disciplines, including anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, philosophy and religious studies as well as linguistics, and has been published in many journals across all these disciplines (e.g., Language, American Anthropologist, Man, Anthropological Linguistics, Cognition and Emotion, Culture and Psychology, Ethos, Philosophica, Brain and Behaviourial Sciences, The Journal of Cognition and Culture etc). Professor Wierzbicka is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has two Honorary Doctorates, one from Marie Curie-Sklodowska University, Poland (2004) and one from Warsaw University, Poland (2006). She is the winner of the Dobrushin Prize for 2010 (established in Russia in honour of the Russian mathematician Roland Lvovich Dobrushin) and of the Polish Science Foundation’s 2010 prize for the humanities and social sciences.


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Updated:  13 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers