Temperature terms in Modern Eastern Armenian

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This paper discusses the lexical expression of temperature concepts in Eastern Armenian within the general framework of the lexical typology of temperature terms. Eastern Armenian displays adjective-like tactile, noun-like ambient and verb-like personal temperature expressions. These part-of-speech preferences also have some less visible correlates in derivational morphology. Although lexical diversity is greater in the domain of hot temperatures, with its variety of non-derived nouns and adjectives and a special class of fire temperatures forming a separate kind of temperature additional to the ambient, tactile and personal kinds, corpus statistics show that Armenian has a clearly triangular system with only one salient term for tactile and ambient domains, referring to both hot and warm temperatures, while the cold domain is divided between more or less dedicated and almost equally frequent tactile and ambient terms. Finally, a brief look at the etymologies reveals that there are very few terms that can be securely traced back to proto-Indo-European. New terms, often of unknown origins, have entered the arena, and the former basic ‘hot’ term has now been ousted to the metaphorical domain by a new term of unknown descent.


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