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A Study of Meanings of Color Words in Korean Proverbs: on [Black/White] Groups

Jang Kyung-hyun 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In this research, I tried to analyze the meanings and the structures of color words representing the meaning [black/white]. The meanings of [black/white] words are used as the basic cognitive concepts in that they are used as the idealized psychological poles, and proverbs are the very form that shows the commonsense and the general mental images of the common people. So I focused especially on the semantic relations of the collocated lexical items. Metaphor and metonymy are important in analyzing the meanings of proverbs. And metonymy is somewhat more needed because the meanings of proverbs have the tendency to be affected by social-cultural context and the meanings of the words are usually extended by metonymy. Proverbs are classified into three groups; 1) [black] words group 2) [white] words group 3) [black/white] opposite group. In 1) and 2), we can find some subordinate proverb groups. They are the [positive/negative] meanings of [black/white] expressions, the physical meanings of [black/white] expressions, and the meanings of collocation words. Common knowledges of people do some crucial works in constructing and interpreting the meaning structures of proverbs. So the meanings of color words in proverbs are non-fixed and variable. In some proverbs, ‘black’ means [evil/ugly/misfortune] but in other proverbs, means [good] or simply forms an oppositional pair. Various factors work for this. In 3), the words for [black/white] are used with somewhat more basic and direct meanings. And there are various semantic relations based on the relations between the real things in the real world. And we can find that semantic relevance remains.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.