Temperature terms in Kamang and Abui, two Papuan languages of Alor

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This paper presents a comparative description of temperature terms and the constructions in which they occur in two neighbouring Papuan languages. The languages, Kamang and Abui, are closely related members of the Timor-Alor-Pantar family located on the island of Alor in south-eastern Indonesia. Using data from original fieldwork, I look at the semantic range of the referents with which individual temperature terms occur. Despite having the same degree of elaboration within their temperature systems, Kamang and Abui present significant differences in the way they carve up the temperature domain into lexemes. At the same time, they show a high degree of constructional parallelism in the way different domains of temperature are encoded. A further consideration of metaphorical uses of temperature terms reveals a similar divergence in meaning within comparable constructions.


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