Vietnamese cultural conceptualizations of bng (belly) and lòng (abdomen): Implications for second-language learning

Thuy N. Dinh, Van Kieu Thi Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper employs the analytical tools of Cultural Linguistics to investigate the Vietnamese cultural conceptualizations of bng (belly) and lòng (abdomen), both of which are considered to be the location of thoughts and feelings. Based on our corpus of Vietnamese idioms and proverbs, The Tale of Kieu, and several selected modern poems, we found that, while they share many cultural conceptualizations in common, lòng is used more in figurative contexts than bng. bng and lòng are the seat and container of thoughts and emotions. lòng is viewed as a vast sea, vast cloth, piece of land/soil, stone, and a changeable living entity. lòng, besides having size and quality, is believed to metaphorically have weight and color. An ethnographic survey reveals the Vietnamese sociocultural historical context, ethnomedicine, and philosophical beliefs that motivate the centralization on the abdominal area to metaphorically host people's thoughts and emotions. Our investigation again reveals that language is a “memory bank” (Sharifian 2011, p. 5), this time for cultural conceptualizations that have prevailed at different stages in Vietnamese history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-188
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Culture
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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