[Lingtyp] Languages with connotations for 'left' and 'right'

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Fri Mar 1 04:20:56 UTC 2019

On 01/03/2019 11:04, Randy J. LaPolla wrote:
> This is certainly the case in Old China, where left is east (the 
> primary orientation in Chinese thought is to the south),
Interestingly, you get a different association in the Middle East, where 
the primary orientation is to the east, and thus, the country-name Yemen 
(located on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula) is cognate with 
the word for "right".

(Correspondingly, I have a vague recollection — but I could be wrong — 
that, somewhere in Afroasiatic languages, there is colexification of 
"left" and "cold", but I don't currently have library access or good 
enough internet to be able to follow up on this.)

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

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