LINGUIST List 25.1435

Tue Mar 25 2014

Diss: Japanese, Swedish, Semantics: Shimotori: 'Conceptual Contrasts: A comparative Semantic Study ...'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

Date: 24-Mar-2014
From: Misuzu Shimotori <>
Subject: Conceptual Contrasts: A comparative Semantic Study of Dimensional Adjectives in Japanese and Swedish
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Institution: UmeƄ University
Program: Department of Language Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2013

Author: Misuzu Shimotori

Dissertation Title: Conceptual Contrasts: A comparative Semantic Study of Dimensional Adjectives in Japanese and Swedish

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics

Subject Language(s): Japanese (jpn)
                            Swedish (swe)

Dissertation Director:
Ingmarie Mellenius
Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm
Andrea Schalley

Dissertation Abstract:

Dimensional expressions describe the extension of entities that we commonly
perceive in the three-dimensional space. Most languages have dimensional
expressions such as dimensional adjectives (e.g. high, long) that are said
to be universal. The present study explores concepts of dimensional
adjectives in Japanese and Swedish in terms of the two knowledge bases,
namely linguistic knowledge and extralinguistic knowledge. The focus is on
examining whether there are any similarities and differences in the
conceptualisation of dimensional adjectives between Japanese and Swedish.In
order to see how concepts underlying dimensional adjectives are represented
in a speaker's mind, data was collected mainly from two word-association
tests that were conducted in different ways with regard to response time
and format of the questions. Other sources are dictionaries and online
corpora. The results show that concepts of dimensional adjectives are
represented differently in these two languages. The most remarkable
difference is that Japanese participants associate dimensional adjectives
mostly with nouns that are generally highlighted by focusing on their
prominent extensions (e.g. long is associated with river), whereas Swedish
participants associate dimensional adjectives with both adjectives and
nouns. Differences in association patterns between the two languages would
qualify as evidence that conceptual representations of dimensional
adjectives have a clear contrast.

Page Updated: 25-Mar-2014