Temperature terms in selected African languages

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This paper is a preliminary study of temperature terms in fourteen African languages: Bambara, Baoulé, Ewe, Fe’fe’, Hausa, Igbo, Kalenjin, Kilba, Luo, Luyia, Moba, Ngwo, Swahili and Yoruba. The language material was gathered in interviews using a questionnaire according to the model set up by Koptjevskaja-Tamm (2007). The respective languages have between two and seven different temperature terms, of which two or three might be regarded as basic temperature terms. Concerning the combinability of temperature terms with different items, the fourteen languages are grouped in six categories. These findings are compared with earlier theories on the structure of temperature systems proposed by Frans Plank (2003) and Urmas Sutrop (1998, 1999).


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