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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Brokpa lexicon: Notes on selected semantic fields


A selection of semantic fields of the Brokpa lexicon are examined in some detail, focusing on both cross-linguistically salient as well as locally distinct concepts. Kinship terminology reflects traditional marriage customs through conflating in-laws with paternal aunts, maternal uncles and male cross-cousins. Different kinds of livestock such as yaks and cows are crossbred, giving rise to a wide variety of distinctly named hybrid offspring. Domestic animals receive characteristic onomatopoeic renderings of their vocalizations, and specialized summoning calls. A number of body parts are lexically not differentiated, such as hand and arm, foot and leg, finger and toe, while others like hair distinguish numerous types. Honorifics are found for body parts and kinship terms, among others. Finally, numerals mix a decimal with a more archaic vigesimal system.

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