Hot and cold - universal or language-specific?

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2009
End date: 31/12/2011
Funding: 3240000 SEK


The proposal focuses on the conceptualisation of temperature in natural languages as reflected in their systems of central temperature terms (hot, cold, to freeze, etc). The project is envisaged as an integrated lexical-typological study of the temperature domain with the aim of describing and accounting for the cross-linguistic variation within it from three different angles: 1. Lexicalization of temperature, e.g: What temperature concepts are encoded as words and what distinctions are made in the systems of temperature terms? Are there universal temperature concepts?; 2. Lexicon-grammar interaction, e.g.: How are temperature concepts lexicalized in terms of word classes? In what syntactic constructions are they used?; 3. Semantic derivation and motivation, e.g.: What are the possible semantic extensions of the temperature meanings to other domains? 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 these expressions? The project aims at the following results: description of the attested phenomena, of the cross-linguistic variation within them and of the parameters behind it; generalizations about the attested cross-linguistic patterns and the limits to the cross-linguistic variation; explanations for the attested cross-linguistic patterns and for their distribution across languages.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:57