Cultural semantics of the ‘salt’ word in Persian
This article explicates the cultural conceptualizations of the word for salt (namak) in Persian. The concept of namak reveals an important aspect of Persian sociality, hospitality, mutual respect, and playfulness. For instance, a person’s face or words can be perceived to ‘have salt’, or one’s hand is declared to ‘not have salt’ in the Persian language. To examine the conceptualization of namak, this article makes use of corpus data as well as the metalanguage proposed by Natural Semantic Metalanguage to spell out the nuances of salt-related cultural concepts in Persian. Three senses are identified for namak from a historical perspective: namak 0 for the substance of salt; namak 1 the cornerstone of Iranian sociality and hospitality; and namak 2 the pleasantness, which has changed its semantic content from referring to being pleasant and eloquent to being amusing and playful.
- 2.Cultural semantics
- 3.Corpus data
- 4.Hospitality: Namak0 and Namak1
- 5.Pleasantness: Namak2
- 6.With salt
- 7.Without salt