Linguistik-Klassifikation: Semiotik / Semiotics
Morphological Complexity and Conceptualization : The Human Body
Patrick O. Steinkrüger
- In this squib, I want to argue that the morphological structure of words is, at least to some extent, motivated. As an example I have choosen the partonomic (and for the less part taxonomic) nomenclature of the human body. While important work by Brown et alii (1973), Anderson (1978) and Schladt (1997) exists on this topic, these analyses focus on the conceptualization of body-parts and their semantics, but not on their morphological representation.
In the following, I want to check two predictions about the morphological complexity of lexical items denoting parts of the human body. The first assumption is that the most canonical body-parts are always expressed by mono-lexematic items. The second one consists in the assumption that body-parts of the lowest levels in the hierarchy are always morphologically complex. A set of six body-parts has been analysed in 27 languages. The set consists of two canonical (HEAD and EAR) and of one from the lowest level of the hierarchy (TOENAIL). For this I have adopted a sample from Schladt (1997) and a small one compiled by myself