net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

Minimal English – metalanguage

Could un unbiased conceptually neutral investigation of how people see the world exist? How to share diversity?
(This post is copied from

English is not an international language and it is wrong that scolars use it as if it is.

Describing diversity is impossible if you use English, you need a metalanguage.

Depression is an English concept. NSM makes it possible to talk about it.

Anna Wierzbicka cited from :

In this video she explains, she has nothing against people being naturally imprisonned in their language, but that she opposes scolars’ and for instance also politicians’ thoughtless use of it.
I read Anna Wierzbicka’s book Imprisoned in English: The Hazards of English as a Default Language, because I can imagine that this indeed might be a problem.


Moreover the blurp for the book promised Anna Wierzbicka had a solution.


NSM (Natural Semantic Metalanguage) has 65 primes (a human conceptual vocabulary) and a simple syntax.


“Minimal English is a new derivative of the Natural semantic metalanguage research, with the first major publication in 2018. It is a reduced form of English designed for non-specialists to use when requiring clarity of expression or easily translatable materials. Minimal English uses an expanded set of vocabulary to the semantic primes. It includes the proposed universal and near-universal molecules, as well as non-universal words which can assist in clarity. Minimal English differs from other simple Englishes (such as Basic English) as it has been specifically designed for maximal cross-translatability.” From :

“There are two kinds of English words.
Words of one kind are like this:
if someone says something with these English words,
many people in many places on Earth can know well what this       someone wants to say.
There are not many words of this kind.
When someone says something with English words of this kind, this someone is saying it in “Minimal English”.

When someone says something in Minimal English,
people in many places on Earth can know well what this someone wants to say.
At the same time, people in these places can say the same thing with other words,
not English words.”
From “Global English, Minimal English: Towards better intercultural communication” Cliff Goddard and Anna Wierzbicka 2014. :

Ps “Minimal English has no priviledged status as a conceptual mini language of human understanding. From a conceptual point of view, Minimal Spanish, Minimal Chinese, or Minimal Arabic would of course do just as well.”

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Annie Abrahams
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