Rujiwan Laophairoj

Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Thailand




A Study of polysemic expressions of ăn ‘to eat’ in Vietnamese: Cognitive Semantics


The objective of this investigation is to study the polysemic expressions of the word ăn ‘to eat’ in Vietnamese based on the cognitive linguistics theory in order to uncover the semantic relationships of the lexical item with other words. The data were collected from various Vietnamese dictionaries and two Vietnamese informants. The data exclude compound words and proverbs that contain the word ăn. It is found that there are seven contextual meanings of the word. They include (1) to eat or to bring food into the body, (2) to receive, (3) to use up, (4) to occupy an area, (5) to merge, (6) to be a part of something, and (7) to win or conquer. The first meaning is the word’s basic meaning, while the rest are derived through the metaphorical process.