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GENGO KENKYU (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan)
Vol. 1993 (1993) No. 104 P 49-91



This paper argues that basic dimension adjectives are divided into two classes according to whether they refer to “object” or “place”. The former are systematized according to the feature of the shape of the object, and the latter the relation of the place to its surroundings.
There are conceptually six dimension categories of objects. We will use the following signs analogized to phonetic signs: [A] stands for the volume of a box, [I] the length of a rod, [U] the thickness of a board, [E] the extension of a board, [O] the thickness of a rod, and [_??_] the width of a belt.
The six categories have the following system and hierarchy which are based on the developement of visual perceptions and oppositions between categories: (As to the length of sides, let longest_??_intermediate_??_shortest).[P] → [Q] means that if a language contains words /Q/ (=a pair of antonyms), it must also contain words /P/. (The kernal meaning of words /p/ (/Q/) is [P] ([Q]).) Some dialects in Kyusyu have only /A/ /I/ /U/, which correspond to [A•E•0•_??_], [I], [U] respectively. Standard Japanese has /A/ / I / /U/ /0/ corresponding to [A•E], [I] [U], [O•_??_] respectively.

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