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James Gair jwg2 at CORNELL.EDU
Tue Sep 25 00:08:12 UTC 2001

Dear Colleagues:

I am resending this because I found that I had made one of those
e-mail-plaguing errors the first time (in addition to my computer
losing the date). I had used the angled bracket notation  (CAP . and
,) for written forms, as I usually do, but when I looked over the
copy that was reflected to me, I found that the program had taken
this to mean 'address' or something, so that all those examples were
eliminated (the servers must be looking for some very exotic
addresses). Unfortunately, the variety characterizations remained, so
that some spoken forms might appear to be marked as "literary". Since
Sinhala is strongly diglossic,this could lead to confusion. I
replaced the angled brackets with curly brackets and am resending.
Hopefully, the system will not find some other interpretation of that
notation as well. Bad enough to lose the italics and not have the

I apologize for any inconvenience that this might have  caused.

James W. Gair

Sinhala does make a distinction between types of heat that resembles
the phenomena that Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm describes. The quickest
way for me to lead into this is to quote from our Sinhala text
Readings in Colloquial Sinhala (James W. Gair, W.S Karunatillake and
John Paolillo, Sinha Books and  Cornell South Asia Pprogram 1987).

I have converted the Sinhala script in the examples to Romanized
transcription. @ represents schwa,but may be replaced by /a/ for
transliteration since schwa is nearly though not quite completely
predictable. Doubling of vowels is length.{S} is Sinhala script (and
Sanskrit} retroflex s.

"/usn@/  Sinhala has more than one equivalent for English 'heat' or
hot".  They designate different kinds of heat, and are difficult to
define.  /usn@/ generally refers to "intrinsic" heat, that is, heat
which is a property of something as opposed to "accidental, induced
or short term" heat, (as for, example, the heat induced in food or
some other substance by heating it) for which the usual term is
/rasne/. /rasne/ is also used when referring to the (hot) weather on
a particular day. When applied to food,/usn@ as opposed to /siit at l@/
'cool', has a special sense relating to the traditional medical
system and system of beliefs about food and the way in which they are
classified in relation to their interaction with the body".  (Reading
2, Grammar p. 7.)

  There are still more forms in this field. The adjectival (and stem)
form of /usne/ is /usn@/ spelled {usSNa}--diglossia enters here.  The
related form /unu/ (spelled with retroflex {N}, but not distinct from
/n/ is  'warm. hot', and occurs in such collocations as  /unu watur@/
'hot/warm water'. Note also the noun form /un@/ 'fever'.

/rat/ related to /rasne/ occurs in the collocation /rat k at r@n at wa/ '
hot+make/ heat (something)', generally of substances. /rat wen at wa/
'hot+become' is the intransitive equivalent, as in /rat wee-g at n@
en at wa/ 'hot become-get-PPL come/ 'it's getting to be  hot (as of food
in cooking'. /unu k at r@n at wa/ is 'heat (trans.), liquefy, distill' ,
with /unu wen at wa/ as the intransitive form.

my impression is that the /unu/ forms are more used with liquids and
the /rat/ ones with solids, but I am sure that there is more to it
than that.

Though the heat terms are not extended as such into the domain of
chillies/spiciness, there is a kind of extension of the domain, in
that "hot" foods are referred to as those that 'burn the mouth" /kaT@
dan@/ but also as /saer@/, roughly 'strong' without the heat

There is a form /griisme/ (literary {griiSmaya}) adjective/stem form
/griism@/   used in climate contexts, as in /griism@ kaale/ 'hot
season'. However, bodily experienced heat would be expressed as
/rasne daenen at wa/ 'heat+ experience (vb.)' (='get to know

There is also a more formal form {taapaya} /taape/, occuring in
technical contexts such as {aapeeks.ika taapaya} 'specific heat', but
I am not sure of its total range. (cf. Sanskrit taapa: and related

I hope that this is of some help, and will be hapy for any
elaborations/emendations. I have been trying to avoid referring to
this as a 'hot topic", but  certainly the general lexical and
conceptual field could use investigation in Sinhala as elsewhere.
Perhaps someone will  comment on terms like {garam} in Hindi/Urdu,
which crosses dimensions including  sensation/taste and physical as
well as, I believe, the "inherent property" one.

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