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Categories across language and cognition -
Parts of the body in languages
According to embodiment theories, the body is considered the source of all categories and concepts, yet little consideration is spent on how we conceptualize the body itself. For example, did you know that nearly a third of the world’s languages do not have a separate word for hand and arm? In this project, we examine how body parts are categorized in different languages, and how body part terms are acquired by children.
Previous research on body part terms has depended on secondary sources (e.g. dictionaries), and has lacked sufficient detail or clarity for a thorough understanding of these terms’ semantics. We aim to provide a more comprehensive account of how the body is categorised in language by conducting original fieldwork using standardised methodology.
- Niclas Burenhult on Jahai
- Mark Dingemanse on Yoruba
- Nick Enfield on Lao
- Alice Gaby (University of California, Berkeley) on Kuuk Thaayorre
- and Martina Magdolenova on Slovak
- Sotaro Kita (University of Birmingham) on Japanese
- Stephen C. Levinson on Yélî Dnye and Tzeltal
- Martina Magdolenova (Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra)
- Asifa Majid on Punjabi
- Sergio Meira (Leiden University, Netherlands) on Tiriyó
- Dick van der Meij (Leiden University) on Indonesian
- Nora Rüsch on German
- Gunter Senft on Kilivila
- Miriam van Staden (University of Amsterdam) on Tidore
- Angela Terrill (Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands) on Lavukaleve
- Claudia Wegener (University of Manchester) on Savosavo
- Majid, A., Enfield, N. J. & van Staden, M. (2006). Parts of the body: Cross-linguistic categorisation. Special issue of Language Sciences, 28(2-3). more >