From Utility to Perceptual Salience: Cultural, Lexical, and Conceptual Change in the Southern Kalahari Landscape

Gertrud Boden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article presents a model of the southern Kalahari landscape
that in the past gave clues for orientation and usability to Taaspeaking
hunter-gatherers. Lexical and conceptual changes are detected
with respect to what was formerly the most important landform for survival:
pans as water sources and sites suitable for camping and foraging. A
part-to-whole-change in lexical semantics is paralleled by a conceptual
change from a predominance of notions of utility to a predominance of perceptual
salience. These changes reflect changes in land-use patterns and
were discovered by comparing statements from people of different ages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-327
Number of pages24
JournalAnthropological Linguistics
Volume51
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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