Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The domain of the human body is an ideal focus for semantic typology, since the body is a physical universal and all languages have terms referring to its parts. Previous research on body part terms has depended on secondary sources (e.g. dictionaries), and has lacked sufficient detail or clarity for a thorough understanding of these terms' semantics. The present special issue is the outcome of a collaborative project aimed at improving approaches to investigating the semantics of body part terms, by developing materials to elicit information that provides for cross-linguistic comparison. The articles in this volume are original fieldwork-based descriptions of terminology for parts of the body in ten languages. Also included are an elicitation guide and experimental protocol used in gathering data. The contributions provide inventories of body part terms in each language, with analysis of both intensional and extensional aspects of meaning, differences in morphological complexity, semantic relations among terms, and discussion of partonomic structure within the domain. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Language Sciences

Publication Date





137 - 147