Meronymy of words expressing human body parts of the middle part in Thai language and Vietnamese


Author: Ha Thi Mai Thanh (Tay Bac University)
Speaker: Ha Thi Mai Thanh
Topic: Language Documentation
The CALA 2022 General Session


Abstract

The nomenclature and meronymy of body parts has constituted a central part of linguistics, and of linguistic anthropology. The article focuses on the research of meronymy of words expressing human body parts (HBPs) of the middle part in Thai language. The study thus applies the following methods: field research methods of linguistics, description, comparison, and collation. As sources of data, this study surveys Thai rhymes, fairy tales, riddles and riddle songs, rhyming stories, children’s songs and linguistic data of daily speeches in the northwest of Vietnam.
In meronymy, the vocabulary table (vocabulary matrix) is generated for the words expressing HBPS in words expressing HBPS of the middle part in Thai language and Vietnamese. Words expressing HBPS in the middle part in Thai are greater than those in Vietnamese because the number of empty boxes denoting the nomination in Thai is more than that in Vietnamese. In terms of the combination ability in the syntagmatic axis, because the number of the prehypothesis meanings of words expressing HBPS in the middle part in Vietnamese is more abundant than that in Thai. Therefore, the wordnet in Vietnamese reflecting the meronymy is deeper than that in Thai.
This study contributes to Linguistic Anthropology by suggesting that the meronymy of words expressing HBPs of the middle part in Thai language will outline a list of linguistic phenomena which serve as the basis to understand cultural and national features, in the light of perception and categorization of the reality of the Thai minority with reference to Vietnamese.

Keywords: Meronymy, Thai language, Vietnamese, human body parts