What Does “Education” Mean: Cultural Values in Educational Language

  • Mark Honegger University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Keywords: Natural Semantics Metalanguage, corpus study, educational theory, lexical meaning


This article will advocate for the use of Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) Theory to research cultural values in Education. It will demonstrate how NSM research can be conducted as it provides explications for the word education. NSM is a research agenda that has identified 65 semantic primes, words that are found in every language of the world and which cannot be defined in terms of any simpler words. If you try to break down a semantic prime like good, you might describe it in terms of words like “positive, pleasing, valued,” all of which turn out to be more complex than good itself. Because primes cannot be decomposed and are universal to every language and every culture, they provide a basis for carrying out cross-linguistic comparisons of meaning and for identifying the cultural perspectives that inform our language and its thought structures. More complicated words, the bulk of any language, are social constructs that are culturally laden, providing deep insights into the way a society thinks.


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How to Cite
Honegger, M. (2020). What Does “Education” Mean: Cultural Values in Educational Language. Journal of Culture and Values in Education, 3(2), 42-53. https://doi.org/10.46303/jcve.2020.12