Article published in:The Conceptualization of ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Ugly’ across Languages and Cultures
Edited by Anna Gladkova and Jesús Romero-Trillo
[International Journal of Language and Culture 8:1] 2021
► pp. 106–127
Is ugliness in the mind of the beholder?
The conceptualization of ‘ugly’ in English
The paper explores the meaning and use of ugly in English. The study is based on corpus data from Cobuild Wordbanks Online and investigates the polysemy and the spheres of application of the concept. Through corpus analysis methodology, we investigate the most common collocations and the pragmatic and contextual uses of the term. Based on this analysis, our study proposes semantic explications of ugly in universal human concepts within the theoretical framework of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM). We also analyze the most common collocations with the word ugly and classify them into several meaning-based categories. A comparison between beautiful and ugly reveals that they are not identical in their distribution, which suggests different cognitive salience of the concepts. We also note the special role of ‘people’ and ‘nature’ in conceptualization and use of beautiful and that of ‘human actions’ in ugly.
Keywords: corpus pragmatics, folk aesthetics, English, natural semantic metalanguage (NSM), ugly, polysemy
Published online: 07 June 2021
Cobuild Wordbanks Online [CWO]
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