Body part terms in Jahai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article explores the lexicon of body part terms in Jahai, a Mon-Khmer language spoken by a group of hunter–gatherers in the Malay Peninsula. It provides an extensive inventory of body part terms and describes their structural and semantic properties. The Jahai body part lexicon pays attention to fine anatomical detail but lacks labels for major, 'higher-level' categories, like 'trunk', 'limb', 'arm' and 'leg'. In this lexicon it is therefore sometimes difficult to discern a clear partonomic hierarchy, a presumed universal of body part terminology.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • Jahai, Mon-Khmer, Body part terms, Partonomy, Meronymy, Semantic fields, Semantic generality, Ambiguity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-180
JournalLanguage Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)