Professor Anna Wierzbicka

Professor (Linguistics)
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Philosophical Psychology (Incl. Moral Psychology And Philosophy Of Action) 220311
  • Jewish Studies 220404
  • Organisational, Interpersonal And Intercultural Communication 200105
  • Culture, Gender, Sexuality 200205
  • Language In Time And Space (Incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology) 200406
  • Language Studies 2003
  • Linguistic Structures (Incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) 200408
  • Cultural Theory 200204
  • Translation And Interpretation Studies 200323
  • Language In Culture And Society (Sociolinguistics) 200405
  • Lote, Esl And Tesol Curriculum And Pedagogy (Excl. Maori) 130207
  • Migrant Cultural Studies 200208
  • Philosophy Of Language 220313
  • Comparative Language Studies 200322
  • Linguistic Anthropology 160103
  • Other European Languages 200310
  • Biography 210304
  • Christian Studies (Incl. Biblical Studies And Church History) 220401
  • Multicultural, Intercultural And Cross Cultural Studies 200209
  • Discourse And Pragmatics 200403
  • English Language 200302
  • Central And Eastern European Languages (Incl. Russian) 200304
  • Cultural Studies 2002
  • Other Psychology And Cognitive Sciences 1799
  • Linguistics 2004


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:  07 June 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers