contrastive analysis; taste terms; spicy taste; meaning extension; Korean; Chinese; 언어 대조; 미각어; 매운맛; 의미 확장; 한국어; 중국어
언어와 정보 사회, v. 26, Page. 101-134
This study aims to perform a contrastive analysis of the semantic expansion of the adjective “spicy” in the Korean and Chinese. Words affiliated with the Korean “맵다” and “辣[là]” are objects of analysis. First, both the meanings of “맵다” and “辣” are expanded to include the sense of pain as they share the models of this spicy-painful taste in hot pepper and mustard. A major difference to be found is that “辣” is more flexible and expansive in its inclusion of the taste of hard liquor. Second, in both Korean and Chinese, the meaning of the adjective “spicy” is extended to tactile and olfactory senses, accompanied by the sense of pain. When transferred to the tactile sense, “spicy” expresses different sense of heat: in Korean, spicy is perceived as cold whereas in Chinese, spicy is conceived as hot. Third, “spicy” in Chinese is also applied to abstract objects, often in negative terms. It is even used to characterize sexy women. None of these Chinese applications are found in the Korean usage of the word. Finally, the Korean “맵다” and the Chinese “辣” denote emotions: in Korean, it refers only in part to sadness and regret whereas in Chinese, a greater variety of emotions including love, rage, shame and distress is expressed by the term “辣”.