Is ugliness in the mind of the beholder?
The conceptualization of ‘ugly’ in English
Anna Gladkova |
Australian National University
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.
- 2.Methodology and framework
- 3.The semantic analysis of ugly based on corpus data
- 3.1The polysemy of ugly
- 4.Ugly and beautiful, can they be compared?
- 6.Concluding remarks