Eclipse as an areal calque in East and Southeast Asia
The aim of this presentation, based on linguistic data from more than three hundred languages and dialects, is to provide a preliminary overview of expressions for solar and lunar eclipses in East and Southeast Asian languages, which show parallel semantic structures irrespective of genetic affiliation. This presentation shows that many languages in this region express solar and lunar eclipses by means of ingestive verbs, especially ‘eat’ and ‘swallow’. Many languages with eclipse expressions of the “ingestive” type also explicitly express devourer nouns that consume the sun and moon, which come from a diverse semantic array of animal or mythological motifs, including dogs, cats, tigers, bears, rats, squirrels, frogs, snakes, fish, spiders, centipedes, demons, spirits and so forth. Expressions for solar and lunar eclipses are sometimes encoded by means of asymmetrical structures in that different devourers or verbs are involved depending on solar or lunar eclipses.
Keita Kurabe, Visiting scholar