Enfield, N. J.
Lao body part terms. Language Sciences, 28
(2-3), 181-200. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2005.11.011.
This article presents a description of nominal expressions for parts of the human body conventionalised
in Lao, a Southwestern Tai language spoken in Laos, Northeast Thailand, and Northeast
Cambodia. An inventory of around 170 Lao expressions is listed, with commentary where some
notability is determined, usually based on explicit comparison to the metalanguage, English. Notes
on aspects of the grammatical and semantic structure of the set of body part terms are provided,
including a discussion of semantic relations pertaining among members of the set of body part terms.
I conclude that the semantic relations which pertain between terms for different parts of the body not
only include part/whole relations, but also relations of location, connectedness, and general association.
Calling the whole system a ‘partonomy’ attributes greater centrality to the part/whole relation
than is warranted.