You are here: Home Publications Semantic transparency and cultural calquing in the Northwest Amazon

Semantic transparency and cultural calquing in the Northwest Amazon

Floyd, S. (2013). Semantic transparency and cultural calquing in the Northwest Amazon. In P. Epps, & K. Stenzel (Eds.), Upper Rio Negro: Cultural and linguistic interaction in northwestern Amazonia (pp. 271-308). Rio de Janiero: Museu do Indio. Retrieved from http://www.museunacional.ufrj.br/ppgas/livros_ele.html.
The ethnographic literature has sometimes described parts of the northwest Amazon as areas of shared culture across linguistic groups. This paper illustrates how a principle of semantic transparency across languages is a key means of establishing elements of a common regional culture through practices like the calquing of ethnonyms and toponyms so that they are semantically, but not phonologically, equivalent across languages. It places the upper Rio Negro area of the northwest Amazon in a general discussion of cross-linguistic naming practices in South America and considers the extent to which a preference for semantic transparency can be linked to cases of widespread cultural ‘calquing’, in which culturally-important meanings are kept similar across different linguistic systems. It also addresses the principle of semantic transparency beyond specific referential phrases and into larger discourse structures. It concludes that an attention to semiotic practices in multilingual settings can provide new and more complex ways of thinking about the idea of shared culture.
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn