seeking talk/tree homonymy

David Gil gil at EVA.MPG.DE
Fri Sep 16 21:03:45 UTC 2005

Dear all,

In Hebrew, "siaH" [H stands for the unvoiced pharyngeal fricative] means 
both 'conversation' and 'bush'. 

I am wondering whether there are any other unrelated languages which 
have a similar pattern of homonymy relating, on the one hand, 
'conversation' / 'argument' / 'talk', and on the other hand 'bush'/ 
'tree' / 'plant'.

The reason I'm asking is as follows.  In Malay/Indonesian there is a 
family of metaphorical expressions whose gist is to describe 
conversations or arguments in terms of trees.  I am curious to find out 
how general these kinds of metaphors are, and whether they might also be 
manifest in patterns of homonomy such as the above Hebrew example.  
(Though my current best guess is still that the Hebrew homonymy is 



David Gil

Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

Telephone: 49-341-3550321 
Fax: 49-341-3550119
Email: gil at

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list