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First call – "Linguistics of temperature"

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  • Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm
    First call for the theme session Linguistics of temperature at the International Cognitive Linguistics Conference 2009 (Berkeley, U.S.A., July 28-August 3)
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2008
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      First call for the theme session "Linguistics of temperature" at
      the International Cognitive Linguistics Conference 2009 (Berkeley,
      U.S.A., July 28-August 3)
      Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm (Stockholm university)

      ### CONTENTS ###

      Temperature phenomena are universal, relatively easily perceptible by
      humans and crucial for them, but their conceptualisation involves a
      complex interplay between external reality, bodily experience and
      evaluation of the relevant properties with regard to their functions
      in the human life. The meanings of temperature terms are, thus, both
      embodied and perspectival. Rather than reflecting the external world
      objectively, they offer a na�ve picture of it, permeated with folk
      theories that are based on people�s experience and rooted in their
      culture (cultural models).
      Languages differ as to how many temperature terms they have and how
      these categorize the temperature domain in general. Closely related
      languages can show remarkable differences in their uses of
      temperature adjectives, even when these are cognates to each other;
      conversely, temperature systems can show remarkable areal patterns.
      Temperature terms can belong to different word classes, even within
      one and the same language (adjectives � �cold�, verbs � �to freeze�,
      nouns � �coldness�). Languages vary in their word-class attribution
      of temperature concepts: thus, for instance, many languages lack
      temperature adjectives. Word-class attribution and, further,
      lexicalization of temperature expressions and the possible syntactic
      constructions in which they can be used are sensitive to their

      Temperature meanings are often semantically related to other
      meanings, either synchronically (within a polysemantic lexeme) or
      diachronically. Thus, temperature concepts often serve as source
      domains for various metaphors (�warm feelings�, �hot news�) and are
      extended to other perceptional modalities (�hot spices�, �warm
      colour�). Temperature meanings can also develop from others, e.g.,
      �prototypical� entities or activities with certain temperature
      characteristics (e.g., �burn, fire� >�hot�, or �ice� > �cold�).
      Finally, the meanings of temperature terms can also change within the
      temperature domain itself, e.g. �warm, hot� > �lukewarm�, as in Lat.
      tep- �warm� vs. English tepid �lukewarm�. While some languages show
      extensive semantic derivation from the temperature domain, others
      lack it or use it to a limited degree (e.g., the Oceanic languages).
      Languages vary as to which temperature term has predominantly
      positive associations in its extended use (cf. �cold� in Wolof vs.
      �warm� in the European languages), partly due to the different
      climatic conditions.

      Temperature terms have, on the whole, received relatively little
      attention. Cross-linguistic research on temperature is mainly
      restricted to Sutrop (1998, 1999) and Plank (2003), which focus on
      how many basic temperature terms there are in a language and how they
      carve up the domain among themselves. There has been no cross-
      linguistic research on the grammatical behaviour of temperature
      expressions, apart from a few mentions.

      In theoretical semantics, temperature adjectives have mainly figured
      in discussions of lexical fields, antonymy and linguistic scales (cf.
      Lehrer 1970, Cruse & Togia 1995, Sutrop 1998, cf. also Clausner &
      Croft 1999). Koptjevskaja-Tamm & Rakhilina 2006 suggest that
      linguistic categorization of the temperature domain is sensitive to
      several parameters, that are important and salient for humans, can be
      distinguishable by simple procedures relating to the human body and
      have only very approximate physical correlates. Within the Natural-
      Semantic Metalanguage, Goddard & Wierzbicka (2006) propose the
      general formula for describing the language-specific meanings of
      temperature terms via reference to fire.

      Extended uses of temperature words have been studied indirectly in
      cognitive linguistics, primarily in research on the metaphors
      underlying emotions, e.g. affection is warmth (Lakoff & Johnson
      1997:50) and anger is heat (K�vecses 1995, also Goossens 1998; cf.
      also Shindo 1998-99). An important question raised in Geeraerts &
      Grondelaers (1995) is to what degree such extensions reflect
      universal metaphorical patterns or are based on common cultural
      traditions. In any case, the current empirical evidence for the
      suggested metaphors is still relatively meagre.

      For this workshop we invite contributions that discuss the
      linguistics of temperature in particular languages and across
      languages from various angles, e.g.:

      � Lexicalization of temperature concepts, categorization within the
      temperature domain: What temperature concepts are encoded as words
      across languages, what distinctions are made in the systems of
      temperature terms and what factors underlie them? Are there universal
      temperature concepts? Can temperature terms and temperature term
      systems completely free to vary across languages, or are there limits
      to this? How can the meanings of temperature terms be described
      (e.g., via reference to the objective temperature scale, to the human
      body and human perception or to typical entities, like fire or ice)?
      � Lexicon-grammar interaction within the temperature domain: How are
      temperature concepts lexicalized across languages in terms of word
      classes? What syntactic constructions are used for talking about
      temperature perception?
      � Semantic extensions and motivation (patterns of polysemy and
      semantic change) relevant for the temperature domain: What are the
      possible semantic extensions of the temperature meanings to other
      domains and how can these be related to their concrete meanings?
      Where from do the temperature terms come? How can the meaning of the
      temperature terms change within the temperature domain itself? What
      general metaphorical and metonymical models underlie the semantic
      evolution of the expressions related to the temperature domain?

      For collecting linguistic data it might be helpful to make use of
      �Guidelines for collecting linguistic expressions for temperature
      concepts� downloadable from www.ling.su/staff/tamm/tempquest.pdf

      Particularly welcomed are contributions that attempt at linking the
      linguistic issues to a broader anthropological and psychological
      context and offer discussions of methodological and theretical
      problems in dealing with the linguistic domain of temperature.


      Please submit

      WHAT: your 500-word abstract (1" margins, Times New Roman, size 12
      font) as .rtf, or .doc file

      WHEN: by September 5, 2008

      TO WHOM: <tamm@...>

      in an email with the subject heading "ICLC 2009 theme session
      (temperature)"; the

      body of your e-mail should include

      - title of paper

      - name(s) of author(s)

      - affiliation

      - contact e-mail address.

      ### REFERENCES ###

      Clausner, T.C. & W. Croft. 1999. Domains and image schemas. Cognitive
      Linguistics, 10, 1:1 �31.
      Cruse, D.A. & P. Togia 1995. Towards a cognitive model of antonymy.
      Lexicology, 1.113�41.
      Geeraerts, D. & S. Grondelaers 1995. Looking back at anger: Cultural
      traditions and metaphorical patterns. In Taylor & MacLaury (eds.),
      Goddard, C. & A. Wierzbicka 2006. NSM analyses of the semantics of
      physical qualities: sweet, hot, hard, heavy, rough, sharp in cross-
      linguistic perspective. Studies in Language, 34(1): 675 � 800.
      Goossens, L. 1998. Meaning extensions and text type. English Studies,
      Koptjevskaja-Tamm, M. & E. Rakhilina 2006. "Some like it hot": on
      semantics of temperature adjectives in Russian and Swedish. STUF
      (Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung), a special issue on
      Lexicon in a Typological and Contrastiv Perspective, ed. by
      Leuschner, T. & G. Giannoulopoulou, 59 (2).
      K�vecses, Z. 1996. Anger: Its language, conceptualization, and
      physiology in the light of cross-cultural evidence. In Taylor &
      MacLaury (eds.), 181-196.
      Lakoff, G. & M. Johnson 1999. Philosophy in the flesh. New York:
      Basic books.Lehrer, A. 1970. Static and dynamic elements in
      semantics: hot, warm, cool, cold.
      Plank, F. 2003. Temperature Talk: The Basics. A talk presented at
      the Workshop on Lexical Typology at the ALT conference in Cagliari,
      Sept. 2003.
      Shindo, Mika. 1998-9. An analysis of metaphorically extended concepts
      based on bodily experience. A case study of temperature expressions.
      Papers in linguistic science, 4:29�54, 5: 57�73.
      Sutrop, U. 1998. Basic temperature terms and subjective temperature
      scale. Lexicology, 4.60�104.
      Sutrop, U. 1999. Temperature terms in the Baltic Area. Estonian:
      Typological studies, ed. by Mati Erelt, 185�203. Tartu: University of

      Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm
      Dept. of linguistics, Stockholm University
      106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
      tel.: +46-8-16 26 20

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