Unravelling temperature terms in Sɛlɛɛ*

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This paper investigates the encoding of temperature in Sɛlɛɛ, a Niger-Congo language of the Kwa group, spoken in Ghana. The lexicon of temperature in Sɛlɛɛ consists of six central and two non-central temperature terms, distributed among the word classes of nouns, adjectives and verbs. The grammatical constructions associated with temperature evaluation vary according to the word-class status of each temperature term and its contexts of use. The distribution of the different grammatical constructions according to different types of temperature evaluation is discussed in the paper. Metaphorical uses of temperature-related terms are also discussed in the context of neighbouring and closely related languages. Finally, special patterns of temperature evaluation in connection with water are surveyed.


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