The ethno-linguistic relationship between smelling and kissing: A southeast Asian case study

Antoinette Schapper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This paper investigates smell/kiss colexification, the lexical semantic association of transitive verbs of smelling with verbs expressing certain types of con-ventionalised gestures of greeting and/or affection (i.e., kissing). Whilst found sporadically in the languages of the world, smell/kiss colexification is common in languages of all families of Southeast Asia. The prevalence of the lexical association reflects an ancient, endemic Southeast Asian practice in which kissing involves the nose, rather than the mouth, as the primary organ. This study demonstrates the potential of lexical semantic typology to contribute to identifying linguistic areas and cultural practices shared across them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-109
Number of pages18
JournalOceanic Linguistics
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

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