[Lexicog] Semantic extensions (body parts)

John Roberts dr_john_roberts at SIL.ORG
Fri May 21 15:40:41 UTC 2004

> Sounds like an incipient noun classifier system, as is common in
> Amazonian languages of Colombia (and many other places in the world).
> The diff would be that the classifiers have (usually, but not always)
> been bleached of all meaning except the shape.
> --
> Mike Maxwell

In Amele (Papuan) body part terms are the most susceptible to extensions of
meaning but I have never thought of these extensions in terms of a
classifier system. The word for 'eye' probably has the most extensions of
meaning of the body part terms and 'opening' is just one of these
extensions. But other body parts, such as 'mouth' and 'nose' have similar
extensions to those already cited.

ameg 'his eye(s); sight, view; attention; mind, understanding, thinking;
desire; favourite; skill; centre, opening'

biah 'his mouth'
gum biah 'gourd mouth'
hatin biah 'cave mouth'
jool biah 'bag mouth'
jo biah 'house entrance'
wa biah 'river mouth'

mede 'his nose'
wag mede 'prow of a canoe'

teful 'his bone'
cabi teful 'tool (work bone)'
jo teful 'wooden frame of a house (house bone)'

John Roberts

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