The comparative semantics of verbs of 'opening': West Africa vs Oceania

Deborah Hill, Felix Ameka

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Separating things into parts or constituents using different means is an everyday activity that humans everywhere undertake. The way in which humans categorise such events and label them in verbs varies considerably across languages and cultures. In a cross-linguistic study of the categorisation of separation events, Majid et al. (2007: 147) note that separation events such as opening, taking apart and peeling, which involve minimal destruction of the affected object and are mostly reversible, were distinguished from those involving cutting and breaking, which involve significant material destruction accompanied by non-reversible change in the integrity of the object.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMeaning, Life and Culture
Subtitle of host publicationIn conversation with Anna Wierzbicka
EditorsHelen Bromhead, Zhengdao Ye
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherANU E Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781760463939
ISBN (Print)9781760463922
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020


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