The activity of play is one of the fundamental behaviours of human beings and the analysis of its linguistic expressions can reveal a great deal of information about the cognitive aspects and the cultural processes that are involved. Such analysis, yet, is still wanting. Although a few, scattered observations can be found in major, seminal works such as Homo ludens, a particularly useful research framework, however, would be an extensive diachronic picture carried on among as many languages as possible, in order to individuate basic phenomena at the general level which, as such, should imply recurring patterns and appear to be constant through time. A wide-perspective investigation of this kind, which should be necessarily founded also on single, language-specific studies, can profit from the scrutiny of the Indo-european languages. Such a survey (which, given its preliminary character, can be based on the cursory harvest of lexical items supplied by Buck 1949) shows the following: - a noteworthy absence of a single Indo-european root whose original meaning is ‘play/game’; - this absence appear to be the consequence of general features intrinsic to the very domain of play; - a prime role is played by the relationship with the notions of “mimesis” and “movement”, which seem to work as matrices that form semantic configurations characterizing verbs and nouns meaning ‘(to) play’ and ‘game’; - no important role seems attached to other, apparently connected semantic fields (e.g. infancy); - processes that are specifically linguistic (e.g. semantic prototypical configurations, semantic narrowing of light-verbs, etc.) also prove to be relevant. The above phenomena are analysed and discussed in order to provide a few working “coordinates” for future linguistic studies focused on the cognitive as well as on the cultural and historical planes.

“Sui termini indicanti ‘gioco’ e ‘giocare’ nelle lingue indoeuropee. Una panoramica”

NUTI, ANDREA
2013

Abstract

The activity of play is one of the fundamental behaviours of human beings and the analysis of its linguistic expressions can reveal a great deal of information about the cognitive aspects and the cultural processes that are involved. Such analysis, yet, is still wanting. Although a few, scattered observations can be found in major, seminal works such as Homo ludens, a particularly useful research framework, however, would be an extensive diachronic picture carried on among as many languages as possible, in order to individuate basic phenomena at the general level which, as such, should imply recurring patterns and appear to be constant through time. A wide-perspective investigation of this kind, which should be necessarily founded also on single, language-specific studies, can profit from the scrutiny of the Indo-european languages. Such a survey (which, given its preliminary character, can be based on the cursory harvest of lexical items supplied by Buck 1949) shows the following: - a noteworthy absence of a single Indo-european root whose original meaning is ‘play/game’; - this absence appear to be the consequence of general features intrinsic to the very domain of play; - a prime role is played by the relationship with the notions of “mimesis” and “movement”, which seem to work as matrices that form semantic configurations characterizing verbs and nouns meaning ‘(to) play’ and ‘game’; - no important role seems attached to other, apparently connected semantic fields (e.g. infancy); - processes that are specifically linguistic (e.g. semantic prototypical configurations, semantic narrowing of light-verbs, etc.) also prove to be relevant. The above phenomena are analysed and discussed in order to provide a few working “coordinates” for future linguistic studies focused on the cognitive as well as on the cultural and historical planes.
Nuti, Andrea
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/209329
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