Temperature terms in Lao, Southern Zhuang, Southern Pinghua and Cantonese

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Lao, Southern Zhuang, Southern Pinghua and Cantonese are four languages spoken in Mainland Southeast Asia. The study of the temperature systems in these four languages – two from the Tai family and two from the Sinitic family – provides an interesting test case for the areal study of temperature terms. There has been borrowing of temperature terms between the two families, both between the more modern stages of the languages and between Proto-Tai and Old/Middle Chinese. However, the resemblance in how the temperature continuum is carved up in these languages is not strong.


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