LINGUIST List 13.2121

Sat Aug 17 2002

Sum: Words for Apple, Addendum

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Robin Allott, Words for the apple 2

Message 1: Words for the apple 2

Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 08:49:25 +0100
From: Robin Allott <>
Subject: Words for the apple 2

I am grateful for the many additions and necessary corrections to the
list of words for apple.

The expanded list (so far for 76 languages) can be seen at

The graphic, inserted before the list, shows how the word 'apple'
originated from the transfer of an action (plucking or holding an
apple) into a representing gesture. The gesture, by neural motor
equivalence of arm movement and motor programming of the tongue and
other articulatory organs, then generated the sound structure of the
word for the fruit.

Similar graphics can be prepared for typical words from other major
language groups. The different word structures for the same fruit in
other languages result from the different arm-movement elements used
to form the same final gesture (similarly to the relation between
different words for 'head' and the final pointing gesture to the head:

This has a relation to the ideas advanced by Rizzolatti, Gallese and
Arbib in their papers on "Language within our Grasp" and the
significance of 'mirror neurons'.

Robin Allott
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