The Typology of Physical Qualities / ed. by E. Rakhilina, T. Reznikova, D. Ryzhova. (Typological Studies in Language, vol. 133). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2022. https://benjamins.com/catalog/tsl.133
What is it like? – This is often the first question we ask about any object, and it is typically answered with adjectives: old, smooth, pointed, narrow, etc. Characteristics of things around us is a fundamental aspect of how we conceptualize the physical world, regardless of when or where we live – and regardless of our language. Despite this, the vocabulary of physical qualities has received comparatively little attention in lexical typology: most research so far has focused on verbs and the actions they express.
This volume presents a lexico-typological study of several domains of physical qualities: ‘sharp’/‘blunt’, ‘wet’, ‘empty’/‘full’, ‘old’, as well as dimensions temperature and surface texture. It discusses several theoretical issues including intragenetic language sampling, the possibility of signed vs. spoken language comparison at the lexicon level, and the potential of applying computational models of distributional semantics to lexical typology.
The book will be of interest to linguists with a focus on typology, general and lexical semantics, to lexicographers, and to language students and teachers.