Temperature terms in Hup, a Nadahup language of Amazonia

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This chapter explores temperature terms in Hup, a Nadahup language of the northwest Amazon. Hup has a relatively small inventory of four temperature terms, relating to warmth and coldness. One pair (‘hot’/‘cold’) occurs across a range of morphosyntactic environments and functional domains, from tactile, ambient, and personal-feeling contexts to symbolic extensions relating to the ‘essence’ of living beings; the other two terms have a more restricted distribution and functionality. Noteworthy features of the system include greater elaboration in the personal-feeling subdomain as opposed to the tactile and ambient subdomains; cultural elaboration relating to a hot/cold ‘humoral’ system; and reliance on a complex interplay of lexicon, grammar, and discourse, as evidenced by the importance of evidentials in expressing temperature values.


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