: A Comparative Semantic Study of Dimensional Adjectives in Japanese and Swedish
Umeå Studies in Language and Literature, no. 17
The present study explores the concepts behind Japanese and Swedish dimensional adjectives. The focus is on examining which similarities and differences in the conceptualisation across the two languages exist, if any at all. In order to see how concepts underlying dimensional adjectives are represented in the speakers’ minds, data was collected mainly from two word-association tests. The results show that dimensional adjectives are conceptualised and represented differently by speakers of these two languages. The most remarkable difference resulting from the word-association tests is that Japanese participants associate dimensional adjectives mostly with nouns that denote entities the prominent extension of which is aptly described by the stimulus dimensional adjective (e.g. ‘long’ is associated with ‘river’). In Swedish, however, participants associate dimensioned adjectives with both adjectives and nouns, and the association patterns and their underlying conceptualisations are thus more diverse (e.g. ‘high’ is associated with ‘building’, and ‘long’ is associated with ‘narrow’).