Article published in:The Linguistics of Temperature
Edited by Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm
[Typological Studies in Language 107] 2015
► pp. 333–353
Asymmetries in Italian temperature terminology
The Italian system of temperature terminology features the basic terms caldo ‘hot’ and freddo ‘cold’, two intermediate terms, tiepido ‘warm’ and fresco ‘cool’, and two terms for extreme temperature, bollente ‘very hot’ and gelato ‘ice-cold’, and might look remarkably symmetrical. However, a closer inspection uncovers a number of asymmetries, regarding both the intermediate and the extreme terms. It is argued that such asymmetries depend on perceptual and experiential factors that constitute the basis for conceptualisation of different degrees of temperature. In addition, data on usage and frequency point toward a special status of fresco with respect to other temperature terms. A diachronic survey of changes in the history of temperature terminology from Latin to Italian indicates that this is a result of the late introduction of this term, which was accompanied by a thorough restructuring of the system of temperature terms.
Published online: 11 February 2015
Bhat, D.N. Shankaram
2007 Guidelines for collecting linguistic expressions for temperature concepts, Version 1. http://temperature.ling.su.se/images/7/7c/Guidelines.pdf
2011 “It’s boiling hot!” On the structure of the linguistic temperature domain across languages. In Rahmen des Sprechens. Beiträge zur Valenztheorie, Varietätenlinguistik, Kognitiven und Historischen Semantik. Peter Koch zum 60, Sarah Dessì Schmid, Ulrich Detges, Paul Gévaudan, Wiltrud Mihatsch & Richard Waltereit (eds), 393-410. Tübingen: Narr.
Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria & Rakhilina, Ekaterina V.
Mallory, James P. & Adams, Douglas Q.
2003 Temperature talk: The basics. Paper presented at the Workshop on Lexical Typology at the ALT conference in Cagliari, September.