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Academic Paper


Title: Feeling your neighbour: an experimental approach to the polysemy of tundma ‘to feel’ in Estonian
Author: Mariann Proos
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Linguistic Theories
Subject Language: Estonian
Abstract: This paper offers an experimental approach to the polysemy of the Estonian perception verb tundma ‘to feel’ from the perspective of the perception ➔ cognition metaphor. First, a sorting task is used to map how native speakers perceive the different senses of tundma ‘to feel’. The results show that cognition-related senses of tundma form the most distinct and coherent group. This set was researched further by means of a second experiment, a conceptual feature rating task. The aim of this task was to assess if the cognition-related meanings of tundma differ from other cognition verbs of Estonian (teadma ‘to know’, aru saama ‘to understand’) in that they are metaphorically linked to physical perception. It was predicted that native speakers use characteristics tied to the physical perception in the conceptualisation of the type of knowledge expressed by tundma. However, native speakers did not rate sentences with tundma as more physical than sentences with abstract cognition verbs. This result is indicative of the nature of the semantics of tundma being more varied than was first thought. It is argued that the semantics of tundma refer to it being a verb of general proximal perception.

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This article appears IN Language and Cognition Vol. 12, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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