Temperature terms in modern Eastern Armenian
This paper is an analysis of lexical categorisation of the temperature domain in modern Eastern Armenian. Compared to the vast research outline proposed in (Koptjevskaja-Tamm 2011), this paper has several important limitations. First, it is focused on non-derived, primary temperature terms (most of which happen to be adjectives or nouns, or both). Derived lexical items, as well as lexical items that apply to temperature phenomena only secondarily, are not considered. Second, it focuses on lexical rather than morphosyntactic categorisation, in the sense that more attention is paid, again, to lexical items than to the morphosyntactic patterns they are associated with. In a sense, we focus on elementary morphological units – dedicated temperature roots – rather than on the morphological and morphosyntactic patterns they are involved in.
As Eastern Armenian represents an elaborated system of temperature terms (some dozen lexical items), even under such restrictions the linguistic data presented below is well worth of analysis. To a certain extent, the issues of part-of-speech derivation are brought into consideration. It should also be noted that, as the examples in the paper show, there seem to be no sharp differences between e.g. morphosyntactic treatment of the subjects of tactile vs. ambient vs. personal temperatures, such as shown in Koptjevskaja-Tamm (2011) through a comparison of French, Finnish, Japanese and German examples. It is true that, as in many languages, in Armenian ambient temperature is often expressed by impersonal predication (cf. ex. 3 below). However, experiencers of personal temperature (as most experiencers in general), carriers of tactile temperature and meteorological phenomena expressed by explicit NPs (‘day’, ‘air’, ‘sun’) predicated by ambient terms are all treated as subjects. They are assigned nominative marking and control verbal agreement. There certainly may be finer morphosyntactic differences, but these are left for future research(ers).
The structure of the paper is as follows. Section 1 provides a brief genealogical, structural, sociolinguistic and historical account of the Eastern Armenian language and introduces the main source of the present study (Eastern Armenian National Corpus). Section 2 provides an overview of the temperature words of Eastern Armenian along the lines of the typological dimensions around which the present volume is centred, including the pivotal distinction between tactile and ambient temperatures. Personal temperature terms are in a sense independent from this main opposition, so that the discussion of personal temperatures goes alongside but apart from the main argument, both here and later in Section 6. Section 3 is an overview of metaphorical uses of the temperature terms. Section 4 considers part-of-speech properties and some aspects of derivational morphology of the Eastern Armenian temperature words. Section 5 is an account of the known etymologies of the terms. Section 6 introduces some data on relative textual frequencies of temperature terms. Section 7 is a summary of the paper.