Patterns of Closeness and Abstractness in Colexifications: The Case of Indigenous Languages in the Americas

18 Dec 2023  ·  Yiyi Chen, Johannes Bjerva ·

Colexification refers to linguistic phenomena where multiple concepts (meanings) are expressed by the same lexical form, such as polysemy or homophony. Colexifications have been found to be pervasive across languages and cultures. The problem of concreteness/abstractness of concepts is interdisciplinary, studied from a cognitive standpoint in linguistics, psychology, psycholinguistics, neurophysiology, etc. In this paper, we hypothesize that concepts that are closer in concreteness/abstractness are more likey to colexify, and we test the hypothesis across indigenous languages in Americas.

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