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The Natural Semantic Metalanguage is a controversial linguistic theory which claims to be just that. The theory says that there is a set of words (currently about 65) called semantic primes, which are the base level concepts. All other concepts can be defined using them, and they themselves cannot be defined. Furthermore the theory says that these words are ...


A language depends on common knowledge. For example it is impossible to describe a colour to someone who has been totally blind from birth. Ultimately all words must be defined in terms of concepts we already know. We learn new words when we are young children by listening, observing and asking questions. In particular most nouns are learned by a child ...


Yes. Taking account of the fact that every set is a subset of itself, all the words in the dictionary is such a set. I see no reason to think there is a unique smallest such set, so no to the other form of your question about the smallest such set.


Words that function as one word but appear as two are called open compounds. They are one of three types of compound words, the other two of which are closed (e.g., pancake) and hyphenated (e.g., half-baked). This document covers compound words extensively. This one gives several examples, such as living room, full moon, real estate, and coffee table. For ...

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