Vietnamese cultural conceptualizations of bụng (belly) and lòng (abdomen)
Implications for second-language learning
This paper employs the analytical tools of Cultural Linguistics to investigate the Vietnamese cultural conceptualizations of bụng (belly) and lòng (abdomen), both of which are considered to be the location of thoughts and feelings. Based on our corpus of Vietnamese idioms and proverbs, The Tale of Kieu, and several selected modern poems, we found that, while they share many cultural conceptualizations in common, lòng is used more in figurative contexts than bụng. bụng and lòng are the seat and container of thoughts and emotions. lòng is viewed as a vast sea, vast cloth, piece of land/soil, stone, and a changeable living entity. lòng, besides having size and quality, is believed to metaphorically have weight and color. An ethnographic survey reveals the Vietnamese sociocultural historical context, ethnomedicine, and philosophical beliefs that motivate the centralization on the abdominal area to metaphorically host people’s thoughts and emotions. Our investigation again reveals that language is a “memory bank” (Sharifian 2011, p. 5), this time for cultural conceptualizations that have prevailed at different stages in Vietnamese history.
Keywords: cultural conceptualizations, Cultural Linguistics, abdomen, Vietnamese, belly, cultural models
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