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The natural semantic metalanguage gives definitions of common words in terms of semantic primes, as can be found here.

I am curious, however, as to how the NSM deals with proper names (or does it?) For example, does the NSM have an explication for the expression `Donald Trump'?

  • You are thinking of something with first name male person (or famous duck), first name basis because prominent person, child or familiar one? – Joop Eggen Oct 29 '18 at 11:41
  • @JoopEggen uhh what? – extremeaxe5 Oct 29 '18 at 13:34
  • @extremeaxe5 um, how do you define "proper name"? Is Donald Trump one proper name or two? Is there a semantic structure involved -- a meaning? If it's just an arbitrary referent, then it is just a fixed reference to "somebody" in an NSM structure; if you want structure, you'll have to add predicates for "family name" and "personal name", or whatever else you find necessary. – jlawler Oct 29 '18 at 15:31
  • @jlawler Sure. But the idea of the NSM aid that it should be able to provide an explication, in terms of primes, of any expression that is not a prime. It doesn’t matter if DT is one word or two; the idea of a fixed referent should not be allowed in the NSM. – extremeaxe5 Oct 29 '18 at 20:29
  • I don't believe NSM makes the claim that every word that is not a prime can be explicated. Proper nouns can be seen as belonging to the iconic-indexical part of language and therefore are not amenable to semantic analysis, so they are sometimes said to be semantically transparent. Another such part of language is onomatopoeia. – Gaston Ümlaut Nov 2 '18 at 7:07

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