Record Nr.



Dimmendaal Gerrit Jan


The Leopard's spots : essays on language, cognition, and culture / / by Gerrit J. Dimmendaal


Leiden, The Netherlands : , : Koninklijke Brill, , 2015




Descrizione fisica

1 online resource (237 p.)


Brill's Studies in Language, Cognition and Culture, , 1879-5412 ; ; Volume 11




Language and languages - Variation - Africa

Cognitive grammar - Africa

Language and culture - Africa

Electronic books.

Lingua di pubblicazione



Materiale a stampa

Livello bibliografico


Note generali

Description based upon print version of record.

Nota di bibliografia

Includes bibliographical references and indexes.

Nota di contenuto

Preliminary Material / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 1 By Way of Introduction / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 2 Language Ecology and Linguistic Diversity on the African Continent / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 3 Accretion Zones and the Absence of Language Union in the Nuba Mountains / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 4 Esoterogeny and Localist Strategies in a Nuba Mountain Community / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 5 Some Observations on Evolutionary Concepts in Current Linguistics / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 6 Studying Lexical-Semantic Fields in Languages: Nature Versus Nurture, or Where Does Culture Come into It These Days? / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 7 Lexical-Semantic Fields in Tima / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 8 Colourful psi’s Sleep Furiously: Depicting Emotional States in Some African Languages / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 9 Perception of the Living Dead and the Invisible Hand in Teso-Turkana / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- 10 Conversational Styles in Tima / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- References / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- Language Index / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal -- Subject Index / Gerrit J. Dimmendaal.


In The Leopard’s Spots , Gerrit J. Dimmendaal discusses the interaction between language, cognition, and culture in an African context with

special focus on the cultural construction of meaning through language. Such constructions are constrained by our cognitive system, but leave lots of space for culture-specific interpretations and thereby for tremendous typological diversity between languages. This variation reflects the adaptive nature of human language in the same way that the spots of the leopard reflect selective advantages for its natural habitat. But whereas science has essentially one explanation for the rosettes of the leopard, the non-scientific mind may attach meaning to his or her cultural environment by way of language through a plethora of strategies.