[Lingtyp] query: "animal"
gil at shh.mpg.de
Sun Oct 14 06:11:54 UTC 2018
So which of the items in (1-8) are covered by Chinese /dòngwù/ (動物),
On 14/10/2018 03:59, Randy LaPolla wrote:
> Hi David,
> The categories as you have them (1-8) reflect certain cultural
> conceptions, and so won’t be the same for other cultures. For example,
> in Chinese bats were traditionally seen as flying mice, and lizards
> were seen as four-legged snakes.
> The word in Chinese that we translate as ‘animal’ is /dòngwù/ (動物),
> ‘moving thing’.
> Sent from my iPhone
> On 14 Oct 2018, at 12:33 AM, David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de
> <mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>> wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I am interested in exploring, cross-linguistically, the semantic
>> range of words that correspond more or less to the English word "animal".
>> Here are examples of the things that English "animal" refers to:
>> 1. dog, kangaroo, lizard, frog ...
>> 2. eagle, sparrow, chicken, bat ...
>> 3. bee, scorpion, spider, centipede ...
>> 4. crab, shrimp ...
>> 5. worm, leech ...
>> 6. starfish, jellyfish, squid, octopus ...
>> 7. oyster, clam ...
>> 8. sponge (?) ...
>> I am looking for examples of languages in which the basic word
>> closest to English "animal" is nevertheless different in its
>> coverage.In particular, I would like to find instances — if such
>> exist — of languages in which there is a basic word that covers the
>> examples in 1-4 (or maybe 1-5) to the exclusion of those in 5-8 (or
>> maybe 6-8).(Note that the question concerns every-day words that
>> reflect our naive folk biological knowledge, not with scientific
>> terms in those few languages that have such terminology.)
>> Some words of background:A colleague and I working in experimental
>> cognitive science have found (non-linguistic) empirical evidence for
>> the psychological reality of an ontological category that consists
>> roughly of animals of the kind exemplified in 1-4 (and possibly also
>> 5).We are calling this category "higher animals".The characteristic
>> prototypical features of higher animals include a single axis of
>> symmetry, the existence of head, torso and limbs, a face in the front
>> of the head that includes sensory organs such as eyes, and a mouth
>> for eating, and the ability to move forward in the direction that the
>> head is facing. A challenge that we face is that, in the (few)
>> languages that we are familiar with, there is no simple word for
>> higher animals.But we are hoping that other languages might have such
>> a word.in addition, we would also welcome grammatical evidence for
>> the category of higher animals, for example in the form of
>> grammatical rules that are sensitive to the animacy hierarchy by
>> making reference to a cut-off point between higher and other animals.
>> I look forward to your responses.Thanks,
>> David Gil
>> Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
>> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
>> Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
>> Email:gil at shh.mpg.de
>> Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
>> Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816
>> Lingtyp mailing list
>> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>> <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816
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