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Shape in Grammar

Paul Friedrich
Language
Vol. 46, No. 2, Part 1 (Jun., 1970), pp. 379-407
DOI: 10.2307/412285
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/412285
Page Count: 29
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Shape in Grammar
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Abstract

This article deals with some semantic categories of shape as coded in grammar. An analysis is given of three patterns in Tarascan grammar: the 'numeral classifiers', the covertly 'classificatory verbs', and the suffixes of locative space-particularly the semantically complex imagery of the so-called 'body part suffixes'; the 'edge-orifice' suffix is interpreted in considerable detail. The three semantically intersecting patterns are shown to mediate between abstract geometrical features and a concrete map of reference. A brief global survey indicates that many Old and New World languages have similar patterns, and raises questions about the universality of shape categories and their role in abstract thought and metaphor.

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