INSTITUT POLYTECHNIQUE DE GRENOBLE MASTER II RECHERCHE SCIENCES COGNITIVES I.C².A.

Cassio RUGGERI CONS

Lexical motivation of the denominations for the rainbow in Brazil

Master 2 thesis in Cognitive Sciences Presented under the orientation of Prof. Giovanni DEPAU Gipsa-Lab Grenoble Équipe SLD – Systèmes Linguistiques et Dialectologie

September 2012

LEXICAL MOTIVATION OF THE DENOMINATIONS FOR THE RAINBOW IN BRAZIL

Cassio RUGGERI CONS

Abstract This research intends to put in evidence the correlation existing between the process of creation of a name and the human cognition. This is done by seeking to unravel the lexical motivations of the distinct denominations given for the rainbow phenomenon in Brazilian Portuguese, which can remount to a pagan anthropomorphism as to a naturalism that references the shape of the phenomenon, among other kinds of motivation.

Résumé Cette recherche a l’intention de mettre en évidence la rélation existant entre le procès de création d’un nom et la cognition humaine. Cet objectif est atteint en cherchant à démêler les motivations lexicales des dénominations distinctes données au phénomène de l’arc-en-ciel en portugais brésilien, ces qui peuvent remonter à des anthropormorphismes païens comme à un naturalisme qui fait référence à la forme du phénomène, parmi d’autres types de motivation.

Keywords Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese, Dialectology, Lexical Motivation, Linguistics,

Onomasiology, Rainbow.

Introduction As Chambers & Trudgill (1998 [1980]:70) point out, linguistic variation represents, from different perspectives, the scientific object of disciplines as dialectology and sociolinguistics:

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Dialectologists long ago established that language varies from place to place. Sociolinguists have emphasized that language can also vary from person to person in the same place. For both dialectologists and sociolinguists, it is not the mere fact of linguistic variation that is important. What is important is that that variability correlates with other factors, such that certain variants are more closely associated with one village than another, or with labourers more than managers, or with people speaking to close friends rather than to strangers, or with some other factor.

The perspective that this work adopts is particularly focused on the spatial distribution of the linguistic phenomena, known as geo-linguistics, over the social distribution, typical from the sociolinguistics cited by Chambers & Trudgill. The linguistic sign is the way a society has to represent its view of the world, and how its members have decided to represent the reality. In other words, a sign is an extract of the human mind, given a cultural context. How the environment has influenced the creation of these signs and what is the role of the human cognition in the process is, in essence, what the motivational research seeks to unravel. This search, specifically, intends to contribute on the studies of the motivational processes that are linked to the action of lexical denomination, by unravelling the motivations that underlie on different names given to describe the phenomenon of the rainbow in Brazilian Portuguese. The Collins English Dictionary defines the rainbow as “a bow or arc of prismatic colours appearing in the heavens opposite the sun and caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun's rays in drops of rain” (Dictionary.com, from Collins English Dictionary). The most common way to call a rainbow in Brazil is arcoíris. It is the formal and the most broadcasted form, having a usage frequency of 100% in certain regions, attested by their linguistic atlases. Nonetheless, it is far to be the only name to describe the phenomenon. In certain atlases there are records of multiple variations, deriving from distinct expressions, as we can see in the Atlas Lingüístico do Mato Grosso do Sul, which registers, among other denominations, “circo” (circus) and “papa-peixe” (fish-eater). This work unravels the origins of many of these variations, having as basis the Brazilian atlases available at the former Dialectology Centre of Grenoble, which is now the SLD team (Systèmes Linguistiques et Dialectologie), a branch of Gipsa-Lab.

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The analysis of this data gives us also the possibility to group the denominations in different classes according to their motivations, with a classification similar to that proposed by Alinei (1983), as well as take a quick look at the spatial frequency variation of these signs within the researched territory. The diversity of denominations and motivations for them attests the enormous cultural heritage that is present in Brazil. The goal of this work is particularly to show the existing link between the denomination of an object and the vision and perception of reality made by a portion of the linguistic community where the denomination was created, accepted, spread to the members of the community and rooted until the original motivation went opaque and the original meaning got forgotten. Our study is structured in four sections, as described: the first section presents the base question of the research and highlights the main goals of this study through a discussion of theoretical foundations on which the work is based. The second section contains information concerning the area of our study and the methodological principles that characterize the constitution of our corpus and of the databases on which we have supported. The third section is the core of the research, on which the data are presented and analyzed. On the fourth section, our work finishes with a synthesis and a discussion of the main results that seemed worth of pointing out. A part of this conclusive section is dedicated to the presentation of possible perspectives of research generated by the development of the available data.

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1. General principles

1.1. Representation of reality Linguistic signs represent the way societies view the world, and how they have decided to represent the reality. According to the proposition made by Guiraud and later developed by Dalbera, the linguistic sign is born motivated by the desire of being spontaneously understood by the members of a linguistic community. This way, the semantic motivation must be considered as a fundamental composer on the naming process, which evokes not only the resources on the linguistic system and relations between the signs, but is also heavily influenced by the cultural representations that the linguistic community makes out of reality (Guiraud, 1986). If, on one hand, the process of lexical creation obeys to the operations of the linguistic system, on the other hand, it works also by recycling the pre-existent materials in order to answer the need of the speakers to update that which, by the mechanisms of the system itself and of the socio-cultural evolution, gets opaque on the passage of time (Goudi, 2009:90). That is the concept introduced by Guiraud (1986), according to which every lexical creation is motivated, but its motivation tends to get obscure and the sign turns to a convention to which speakers have a pure memorial association. The studies made by Guiraud, Dalbera and also Alinei go in an opposite direction as those on which Ferdinand de Saussure supports his work. Saussure hypothesized that the signs have an arbitrary nature, meaning that they are unmotivated, that there is no natural connection between the signifier and the signified, while the newer studies show that every new sign is created with a motivation in pre-existent signs (Dalbera, 2006:22).

1.2. Theoretical aspects of the linguistic motivation Alinei (1981:51) borrows the concept given by Vigotsky that the speech is a “shortcut” for an entirely developed concept to say that the linguist can, through the motivation, identify the way that this shortcut is made by the speaker. The linguist will also realize that the motivation and the concept can be at the same semantic level,

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but can also happen that the meaning evolves and changes in such a way that it does not correspond anymore to the original motivation. To Guiraud (1986:253-255), the sign is born motivated, but once it is placed inside the linguistic system, it is used by convention, independently of its motivation. As a consequence, once the sign usage is assured by convention in a community, phonetic, morphological and cultural modifications tend to obscure its motivations, and the sign is no more than a pure memorial association, so it may seem to have an arbitrary origin. The advertiser function of the motivation, on one hand assured by the notoriety of the sign in the community that adopts it, on other hand explains the fact that the motivation, after accomplishing this function, loses its importance and may eventually disappear (Alinei, 1996:9). This process of obfuscation of the motivation is connected to historical circumstances, as phonetic or semantic changes, and it is not obligatory, so it ends up producing the traditional distinction between opaque and transparent terms (Alinei, 1996). On what concerns the process of creation of a sign, according to Guiraud (1986:253-256), every word is necessarily formed from another word, in a process that is both morphological and semantic. Morphological because there is always an affiliation of form between the word and its etymon; semantic because the process of derivation consists on designate a concept based on another concept. On this point, the approach of Alinei converges with that of Guiraud. While the latter says that “creating a new word is to pass an already existing word through another paradigm” (Guiraud, 1986:254), the former postulates that the lexical creation consists in a sort of “recycling of signs”, and that the pre-existing tokens, those already known, are reutilised to designate a new referent (Alinei, 1996). He also sets that the fact of recycling already known material functions is a warranty so that a new sign is accepted by a community. Dalbera (2006:24) places the different steps of the evolution of the sign, as established by Guiraud, in a cyclic scheme with a periodicity characterized by three phases: (1) motivation, (2) convention, and (3) arbitrariness, that can be enchained – “(1) remotivation (eventually), (2) new validation by the usage convention, (3) new obfuscation and arbitrariness and so on…” (Dalbera 2006:24) – according to a cyclic process. As we cannot have access to the absolute beginning of the process, “the 5

observable lexical units cannot be considered as if they were each placed in one or another of the three phases of the umpteenth cycle of their evolution” (Dalbera 2006:24, my translation). This way, motivated and unmotivated signs, used by convention, constantly coexist. The act of naming a new referent activates a mechanism that draws in the resources of the linguistic system, while being influenced by the representations that communities make of reality, in a way that the signs are a product of history, of a combination of cultural, social, political circumstances, among others (Guiraud, 1986). The works of Alinei complement this view by attesting that the study of motivation implies necessarily in the convergence of multiple disciplines, as the linguistics, the anthropology, the ethnology, and the history of religions.

1.3. The interest of a motivational approach in the cognition study Cognition and semantic motivations study are two intrinsically connected concepts. An onomasiologic study cannot take place if we do not take into consideration its cognitive parcel. It is the human being who has named all things, and to understand how he did it, we must not only acknowledge the chronological context on signs creation, but also the cognitive processes that run behind this denomination process while he perceives this context and his own community’s socio-cultural reality. The action of naming a new referent puts in action a mechanism that draws on the resources of the language system – phonologic, morphologic, lexical and semantic resources, while being influenced by the way the community represents its reality (Guiraud, 1986). This makes that the signs are a product of history, a gathering of circumstances (cultural, social, political, etc.), and were defined by the human’s mind behaviour.

1.4. The advantages of a geo-linguistic representation The growing field of geo-linguistic researches attests that the study of lexical variation through space is essential to the study of the linguistic signs. Dalbera (2002) proposes a perspective in which the space is considered as a projection of time,

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through which the geo-linguistic studies can reveal stages of the evolution of signs. The geo-lexical analysis, when integrated with the motivation study, can also obtain results that are fundamental concerning the lexical reconstruction (Dalbera, 2002) and the reconstitution of a cultural stratigraphy in a given space, relating both language and cultural history (Alinei, 1983). The study of a concept as the rainbow is yet better to attest the evolution of signs through spatial variation. As we will see further, the distinct denominations attested for the rainbow belong to distinct classes, and this way some denominations can be placed in time. At the same time, this study does not intend to make a data stratification that is too big or too complex, as the time and space available for the research is limited. So the choice was to limit the scope of this work by the boundaries of the field already known, which is the Brazilian Portuguese language.

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2. The focus of this study

2.1. Why to focus the research on Brazil Brazil is an enormous assembly of so many different cultures, and this characteristic is particularly interesting for any linguistic study to take place in this country. There is a mix of multiple language influences, as the obvious Portuguese, which is the official language, but also Spanish, Tupi and other Indo-American languages, French and Dutch due to early colonization in northern Brazil, Italian, German and Japanese due to the later colonization on southern Brazil, as well as the world-wide-spread English influence, more recent. The great linguistic richness that one can find in Brazil associated with its large territory makes that every other region in the country speaks a different dialect. Although almost everyone is able to communicate with everyone else in the country with little or no trouble, the mass media undoubtedly having played its part in this aspect, each region on the country has some particular signs, accents, expressions, and there are even regions where a completely distinct dialect is still maintained as a main or secondary language. As an example, I may name the dialect Talian, which is mostly based on a mix of Venetian dialects but is also highly influenced by other dialects from North Italy and by Portuguese, and is still spoken as a second language by some people on southern Brazil, may I point my own grandfather, who will speak no other language while at home. Aside the already explained richness of linguistic factors presented on Brazil, I may point out the obvious personal aspect that leads me toward a research on Brazilian Portuguese: it is my home land and the place where I have already lived for more than two decades. I nurture a great passion for my country and for its cultural richness, and I have always taken a particular interest in my mother tongue, said by many to be a poetical, romantic language. In a more general view, I certainly hope that this study joins many others on the same ground, and that these studies may influence many other people to do this kind of research, as an attempt to preserve our cultural background and to promote Brazil’s rich culture towards its own inhabitants.

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2.2. Why to search on the rainbow As a natural phenomenon that occurs virtually in every place on Earth, the rainbow has received a great variety of distinct names throughout the planet. The denominations given to the rainbow by multiple communities having been mixed and re-motivated resulted in a stunning set of distinct names for this phenomenon in Brazil, which is, as described above, a huge miscellaneous of cultures. With so many distinct denominations in hand, there was place to separate them into motivational classes, which would be more unlikely if the chosen concept was other, as an animal or plant. The great amount of denominations found for this phenomenon has also aloud a more extensive research than any other concept would, given the available atlases.

2.3. Methodology At the SLD team’s laboratories there are atlases from all over the world. From small regions of France to the great Atlas Linguistique Roman, passing by multiple atlases from Italy, Spain, Galicia, Uruguay, and, of course, Brazil, among several others. Specifically from Brazil, there are twelve atlases, between phonetic and semantic atlases, in either printed or digital form. Out of these atlases, there was the work of cataloguing all the registered different denominations for the rainbow phenomenon. Some of the atlases only took account of the phonetics and accent, so these were left out of the research, as their content is not relevant for this particular study. The maps from where all of this information has been collected are available at the appendices section. The Brazilian atlases that were made available through the SLD team are part of a bigger project, named the ALiB, or Atlas Lingüístico do Brasil (ALiB – Atlas Lingüístico do Brasil). This project proposes to make a linguistic mapping on all of the Brazilian area through regional atlases that could be later gathered in a general atlas. This proposition was conceived in the decade of 1950 and later retaken on the decade of 1990. Until 2006, no more than 9 of the 26 Brazilian states had been described by the geo-linguistic studies of the ALiB project, which represent around 53% of the Brazilian territory (Cardoso, 2006:29). By now, this number has already 9

jumped to 19 states, according to the ALiB website, which shows a significant improvement generated by the ALiB project. Still, a lot of work remains undone once we enter the field of onomasiology. Amazing articles about the semantic motivations of signs permeate the Atlas Linguarum Europae, for instance, but are still something to be done in the ALiB project.

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3. Data analysis

3.1. Analysis of the linguistic data For this research, eight atlases were taken into account for the names that they have registered that the speakers use to refer to the rainbow phenomenon. These atlases are presented in Table 1, together with the abbreviation with which they will be referred to in this study.

Abbreviation Name of the atlas ALABC ALBA ALMS ALPB ALPonta ALPR ALSE ALSP Atlas semântico-lexical da região do grande ABC Atlas prévio dos falares baianos Atlas lingüístico do Mato Grosso do Sul Atlas lingüístico da Paraíba Atlas lingüístico do município de Ponta Porã – Mato Grosso do Sul Atlas lingüístico do Paraná Atlas lingüístico de Sergipe Atlas semântico-lexical de Caraguatatuba, Ilhabela, São Sebastião e Ubatuba – Litoral Norte de São Paulo Table 1: abbreviations for the used atlases1

The mentioned atlases show a great variety of denominations for a lot of specific concepts, being the rainbow one of them. Table 2 denotes all of the different denominations found for the rainbow on these regions by the researchers, and where they could be found. The atlases register twenty distinct names for the rainbow. Slight phonetic differences generated by metaplasms as the apocope seen in arco-íri (ALMS, see appendix G) and the lambdacism registered in arco-ílis (ALMS, see appendix G) where not taken into consideration. Although the phonetic variations are a relevant subject in the lexical motivation research, the metaplasm is transparent on those denominations and the terms from which they derive are already listed.

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Table made by the author.

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ALABC Aliança de Deus Arco celeste Arco da aliança Arco da velha Arco de Noé Arco-íris Aro do tempo Barra de nuvens Barrado (as) Barras Circo Cu de boi Olho de boi Papa-peixe Rabo de galo Sartera Sub-dourada (as) Torres (os) Véus (os) Vieiras X X X

ALBA ALMS ALPB X X X X X X X X X X X

ALPonta ALPR

ALSE

ALSP

X X X X X X X X X

X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X

Table 2: distribution of different denominations in the atlases2

At a first glance, it is noticeable that the variant arco-íris appears in all of the consulted atlases, being as well the only registered form for the ALSP. This is not a strange fact, given that arco-íris is the standardized form to describe the rainbow, and it is the name taught at schools. Remarkable as well are the atlases that could register a great number of distinct variations, as the ALMS and the ALPB. Although not all of these denominations are commonly used, they are as well worth the investigation of where did they come from.

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Table made by the author. Data extracted from Brazilian atlases (see Bibliography).

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3.2. Motivations on the different denominations While the motivation for some of the denominations is more transparent, for others it is far more opaque and it can only be unravelled with some research and reflection. Some of these names, in fact, have such an opaque history that we cannot do other than hypothesize. At first, we can see that a quarter of the denominations are compound names for which the head-word represents the motivation arco “bow”, a clear reference to the round shape of the phenomenon, looking as a bow. The presence of this motivation in a denomination, however, does not determine the motivation for the whole name, as its second component can have a completely distinct qualification. Following, all of the found denominations are minutely analyzed for their motivations. In brackets are other registered phonetic variations for the main sign in the subsection. Some of the denominations have been grouped into a same subsection due to their similar motivations.

a. Arco celeste (Arco inselente) The motivation for arco celeste “celestial bow” is apparently the most transparent in the list, as the name simply describes the concept for its shape and where it appears. Following this perspective, as there are not many other bowshaped forms that appear in the sky, this denomination fills the condition of putting in evidence a discriminatory trait of the concept it aims to describe, a trait that, according to Dalbera (2006:17), must be a broad consensus, under the penalty of being rejected by the community. It has possibly the same motivations as the French arc-en-ciel. A deeper look into the term, however, reminds that the term celeste can also reference the sky in its religious “heavenly” view, thus attributing the rainbow a religious quality.

b. Aliança de Deus, Arco da aliança, Arco de Noé (Aliança, Arca de Noé) Perhaps the only denominations in the list that reference the Christian religion are aliança de Deus “God’s alliance”, arco da aliança “bow of the alliance” and arco

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de Noé “Noah’s bow”. All of them are based on the Genesis story of the Flood, in which a rainbow appears to Noah as a sign of God’s reconciliation with mankind (Alinei, 1983:53). Ferreira (1999:44; in Almeida 2007:87) explains that “in both biblical and rabbinic traditions it is the permanent trait of the divine mercy extension over the world” (my translation).

c. Arco da velha (Arco da véia, Arco do velho, Arco do véio) The anthropomorphic representation arco da velha “old woman’s bow” also appears in several other languages, as attested by Alinei (1983). Spanish, Albanian and Greek are some of the idioms where this representation could be found. Although Cardoso & Ferreira (1999:24) raise a valid hypothesis that this form could be a shortening for arco da velha aliança “bow of the old alliance”, the explanation given by Alinei (1983; 2011) is the most likely, in which the old woman represents a magical-religious interpretation of the rainbow, by association to a pre-Christian mythical entity, the witch. In those pagan beliefs, rain, hail and storms were caused by witches, and Italian, French and Bulgarian dialects keep many words for atmospheric phenomena that are derived from “old woman”. This subject was also a theme for another Alinei study (Alinei, 1988). The folklore dictionary of Cascudo (1962:101, in Almeida, 2007:86) gives yet a completely different explanation for this denomination:
The notion of the old woman, combined with the arc, comes from the hump or hunchback that is particular both to the arc and to the old woman […] (my translation).

The registered variation arco do velho “old man’s bow” denotes a loss of motivation from the “old woman’s bow”, which might have resulted in the gender changing (Cardoso & Ferreira, 1999:24).

d. Arco-íris (Alco-íris, Arcu-rila, Arcu-ir, Arcu-ílis, Arco-íra) The most popular name for the rainbow and standardized form appears in several distinct spellings in the atlases, mostly due to accents variation from one region to another, and possibly aided by a lack of formal education in some regions,

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which leads people to misspell a word that they have already heard but they are unaware of its motivation. The arco-íris “Iris’ bow” is an early anthropomorphic representation that references the pre-Christian Greek divinity Iris, a winged messenger for the gods who wore a shawl with seven colours, identified as the rainbow itself (Cardoso & Ferreira, 1999:24). It is one of the many denominations in European languages that reference the beauty of the phenomenon, a quality often attributed to female characters (Alinei, 1983:52).

e. Aro do tempo The compound denomination aro do tempo “time ring” or “weather ring” has one of its components with a much more clearer motivation than the other. While the sign “ring” clearly references the shape of the rainbow, the ambiguity of the word tempo makes the task of unravelling the motivations of this denomination slightly more difficult. In spite of the ambiguity of the term, there is not any reference in the studies of the rainbow that may point to a word with the meaning of “time” to name the phenomenon. Within the many registered legends that surround the rainbow phenomenon, there are those that involve sex changing, those that make reference to the bow drinking water out of the lakes, and so on, but none of them references the time. In opposition to that, it is relatively clear to see a relation between the rainbow and the weather, as the first can be seen as a presage for a weather changing, or it actually only appears when the weather changes, which makes this the most probable explanation for the denomination.

f. Barrado, (as) Barras, Barra de nuvens One way to define the rainbow by its shape is, instead of referencing its arched form, to reference the colour bars that constitute it. This way, the denominations barrado “barred” and (as) barras “(the) bars” become clear, as well as the first composite in the denomination barra de nuvens “bar of clouds”. On another hand, Cardoso & Ferreira (1999) point out that the denomination barra “bar” has

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served as well to designate the dawn, the daybreak, in some regions of the states of Bahia and Sergipe, fact for which the motivation is unknown. For the second composite of the term barra de nuvens “bar of clouds”, the task becomes a little more complicated. While it may seem that this motivation belongs to a naturalist classification, as a simple impersonal metaphor about the placement of the clouds and the rainbow, or about the material from what the rainbow is made of, this denomination is likely to have a mythological background, as the theory according to which the rainbow is a cloud already appears in Xenophanes (Alinei, 1983:54).

g. Circo The most probable origin for the denomination circo “circus” as a name for the rainbow is a simple reference to its circular form, as a contraction of the word círculo “circle”. In spite of this initial motivation, the expression might have been remotivated, as the circus can as well be related to the rainbow by its colourful character.

h. Cu de boi, Olho de boi According to Alinei (1983), the denominations that are motivated by an animal reflect an ancient totemic vision of reality. Folklore traditions all over Europe attest that the rainbow is seen as a gigantic animal that “drinks” or “sucks” water, as well as people and other animals and eventually spits them out. Oxen and cows are also well-known mythological representations of rivers. Thus, the association with an ox in the denominations cu de boi “ox’s ass” and olho de boi “ox’s eye” is clarified, but not the association with these two particular parts of the ox’s body. Sá (2011) explains the association of the rainbow with the ox’s eye by its colourful character, and quotes Saba & Epiphanio (2001:18; in Sá, 2011:12) for a more detailed explanation:
[…] the carpet behind the [ox’s] retina is a blue-green shining and colourful layer that reflects back to the retina the light that has already passed through it (my translation).

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The Atlas Linguarum Europae (Alinei, 1983:68) also registers the use of this term with the French oeil de boeuf. The association of the rainbow with the ox’s ass is far less clear. One hypothesis is that it is simply a shortening from the word arco “bow”, most often spelled arcu, which ultimately turned to cu.

i. Papa-peixe Many are the stories and legends that involve the rainbow and the motivation for the denomination papa-peixe “fish-eater” can be explained by these legends. As already mentioned, the association of the rainbow with a gigantic animal that drinks water and eventually spits them out is a very common folkloric tradition in Europe (Alinei, 1983). The dictionary of superstitions and beliefs by Oliveira (1940:180; in Almeida, 2007:86) also cites another folkloric belief:
It is the rainbow that conducts the fish from the rivers to the streams and ponds, this way being explained the existence of these small vertebrates in lakes and lagoons that are isolated from other water flows (my translation).

j. Rabo de galo As previously detailed, the representation of the rainbow by zoomorphism remounts to a pre-Christian totemic vision of reality (Alinei, 1983). Specifically, the denomination rabo de galo “rooster tail” seems to make a reference both to the curved shape of both the rainbow and the rooster tail, and their colourful character.

k. Sartera One of the most intriguing denominations in the list is sartera. This variation was only registered in the Atlas Lingüístico do Paraná, in a side note, out of the speech of not more than one speaker. The author of the atlas suggests that this spelling might be a corruption of salteira (Aguilera, 1999:3), which leads to a correspondence with the verb saltar “to jump” plus the suffix –eira expressing a notion of intensity or collectiveness. According to the Online Portuguese Dictionary Priberam (Priberam), the word salteira has two different meanings: that of a small 17

sole placed under the heel or, only in Brazilian Portuguese, that of a larkspur of the militaries. Another attestation of the word can be found at the Wikipedia website (url: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anexo:Lista_de_peixes_do_Brasil), apparently extracted from Buckup, Menezes and Ghazzi (2007). The page attests salteira as the name of a fish, the Oligoplites saliens. Although some legends do cite the fishes, no specific mention was found in the known legends for this specific fish, or for the act of jumping itself. It is not hard to imagine, though, that a traditional society could have made a parallel between the shape of the bow and the act of a fish emerging out of the water, jumping, and getting back into the water, as if the bow was a trail let by this mythic fish. In spite of the multiple hypotheses that can be raised about the motivation of this denomination, it remains unclear. This work limits itself to mention the attestations and materials that can serve as clues to be explored in further studies about this specific motivation of the rainbow.

l. Sub-dourada, (as) Torres, (os) Véus, (os) Vieiras This group assembles denominations for which the motivation is the most unclear. Sub-dourada “sub-golden”, (as) torres “(the) towers”, (os) véus “(the) veils” and (os) vieiras “(the) scallops” are denominations with very opaque motivations. One of these denominations, (as) torres, was attested by two speakers, although both registered in the same atlas, and the other three were attested by no more than one speaker each. It is also worth of mention that all of the five registers were made in the state of Paraíba by the ALPB. For the terms (os) véus and (os) vieiras, one possible explanation is that they are corruptions of the word velha “old lady”, from the term arco da velha “old lady’s bow”. However, this hypothesis may be more carefully analyzed for the phonetic parameters that could lead to such a transformation. Pisciotta (2000:408) places these denominations as motivated by naturalist metaphors, although these metaphors may be very opaque with the passage of time. While we can also raise the hypothesis that these speakers have inadvertently given a wrong answer for the question asked, as they are the only attestants for these denominations (exception made for the sign (as) torres, which has a more

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transparent metaphorical sense), another plausible explanation is the one given by Tolstoj (1981), who argues that many of these simplex, unclear names might be what remains of full, descriptive phrases.

3.3. Motivational group variations Taking a deeper look into the motivations described above, one main classification is clear, which is the division suggested by Alinei (1983:49) of the opposition between the “naturalist” and the “mythological” motivations. The “naturalist” motivations take account of the terms that do not have any religious connection, possibly due to an influence of the modern culture, with the subsequent disappearing of folklore traditions and other remnants of earlier cultures (Alinei, 1983:49). The terms arco celeste “celestial bow” and rabo de galo “rooster tail” at a first glance might seem to belong to the “naturalist” group. However, if we consider the interpretation for celeste as “heavenly”, this motivation puts the denomination into the “mythological” group. As for the term rabo de galo, although it references the shape and colours on an external element, it clearly mentions an animal, making it most probable that it has been motivated by an ancient totemic myth. The group for the “naturalist” motivations includes aro do tempo “weather ring”, barrado “barred”, (as) barras “(the) bars”, circo “circus” and barra de nuvens “bar of clouds”, but with the latter having as well a possible mythological background. The names with a unclear motivation as sub-dourada “sub-golden”, (as) torres “(the) towers”, (os) véus “(the) viels” and (os) vieiras “(the) scallops” are also likely to be placed in the “naturalist” group, due to their metaphorical meanings, as pointed out by Pisciotta (2000:408). The group for the “mythological” motivations, on the other hand, can be subdivided into the pre-Christian and the Christian motivations. includes the motivations that were originated by early The first group zoomorphism or

anthropomorphism and that are based on ancient legends. That definition comprises the terms arco da velha “old woman’s bow”, arco-íris “Iris’ bow”, cu de boi “ox’s ass”, olho de boi “ox’s eye”, rabo de galo “rooster tail” and papa-peixe “fish-eater”. The second group comprises the denominations motivated by Christian religions 19

influence, notably the Genesis story of the Flood. This group contains the terms aliança de Deus “God’s alliance”, arco da aliança “bow of the alliance” and arco de Noé “Noah’s bow”. The remaining denomination, sartera, for which the motivation is unknown, could not be categorised, though that the probable reference to the fish or its trajectory when jumping, as seen before, allows us to ponder about a potential integration of this term to the first category.

3.4. Spatial variations The eight linguistic atlases that were used as main source for this study unfortunately do not cover such a big territorial area in the country, which potentially means that we can be missing a great variety of other distinct denominations for the rainbow. Three of the eight atlases cover three different states on the northeast of Brazil (ALPB, ALSE and ALBA). Two of them cover each a different group of cities on the state of São Paulo, southeast of Brazil (ALABC and ALSP). Other two take place in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in the central-western region of the country, where one of them covers the whole state (ALMS) and the other one makes a more detailed analysis on a particular city on the borderland with Paraguay, named Ponta Porã (ALPonta). The last atlas covers the state of Paraná, on the south of Brazil (ALPR). Although these last five atlases cover areas in distinct administrative regions of the country, these areas are as close one to another as the first three, placed all in the same administrative region, as showed in Figure 1, below.

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Figure 1: geographic distribution of the atlases

Table 3 shows the terms that occur in more than one atlas. The table is geographically sorted from the northerly to the southerly regions.

ALPB Arco celeste Arco da aliança Arco da velha Arco de Noé Arco-íris Olho de boi X X X

ALSE X

ALBA X X

ALMS

ALPonta

ALSP ALABC ALPR

X X X X X X X X

X X

X

X

X X

X X

X

X

Table 3: terms that occur in more than one atlas3
3

Table made by the author. Data are an excerpt from the data in Table 2.

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Not surprisingly, the standardized form arco-íris appears in all of the researched areas. Besides that, it is hard not to notice that the majority of the most broadcast terms are compounds with the motivation arco “bow”. This finding is aligned with the ones in Alinei (1983:48), showing the stability of the “bow” element. The second most spread denomination is arco da velha “old woman’s bow”. The broadcasting of this term, also found in many regions of Portugal (Alinei, 1983) can be attributed to the heritage of the Portuguese culture, which is spread all over the country, being excepted a few small regions not covered by the researched atlases. Once we attempt to geographically distinguish the denominations, it is clear the occurrence of the terms arco celeste “celestial bow” and olho de boi “ox’s eye” in the three northerly states, and their non-occurrence on the southerly states. The reasons for this geographic division need further study. One hypothesis to explain the occurrence of the term olho de boi in this region can be French influence, which is knowingly higher in the northeast of Brazil than in the other regions since the sixteenth century, either through the French Guiana or through attempts to conquer the territory.

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4. Discussions Dalbera (2006:19) explains that every new sign is created with a motivation on a pre-existing one. This assumption, as Dalbera himself points out, does not explain how the first signs were created, and he avoids entering this field. Although Saussure (1959:131) admits degrees of motivation on words, saying that the arbitrary / motivated distinction is not bipolar, he signs that are words that are completely unmotivated, thus have no bond between signifier and signified. He quickly rules out the arguments according to which all of the modern signs might have evolved from onomatopoeias and interjections, using as one of the counter-arguments the differences in modern interjections between two languages (as exemplified in Saussure (1959:69), the difference between English ouch! and French aïe!). Saussure’s arguments on the arbitrariness of the sign, though, apparently did not take account of the human cognition. Because every human being, therefore every other community perceives the world in its own particular way may be why languages are so different from each other. Yet, the linguistic research field of the origins of the language is quickly expanding, as well as the link between linguistics and the cognitive sciences, and many works are being done in this area. As we described the motivations and remotivations for the denominations of the rainbow, we were able to see how the influence of distinct cultures has affected the Brazilian vocabulary. From the most broadcasted term, which constitutes a standard with the majority of speakers ignoring its anthropomorphic totemic pagan motivation arco-íris “Iris’ bow” to the Christian-motivated arco de Noé “Noah’s bow” and to the naturalist aro do tempo “weather ring”, it is possible to find the influence from distinct periods of history, distinct regions of the world, and, in summary, from multiple distinct communities and several different ways to perceive the world, in particular, the rainbow phenomenon. By unravelling the motivations for the denominations of the rainbow, though, many questions were raised that deserve further investigation. A great quantity of other atlases was assembled in Brazil in the past few years that were not available for this research, and there are certainly many other denominations for the rainbow that are not covered in this study. The metaphorical denominations for the rainbow as (os) véus “(the) viels” and (os) vieiras “(the) scallops” remain with a somewhat

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unclear motivation, and mainly the name sartera, despite the research and the hypotheses raised, is still a mystery. The controversial denomination arco da velha “old woman’s bow” may as well be the object of a study by itself, for the great variety of theories concerning its motivation. Also worthy of further study is the geographical frequency aspect of the denominations, an area into which we did not go deep in this work. The presence of the denominations olho de boi “ox’s eye” and arco celeste “celestial bow” only in the north-eastern states is intriguing and opens grounds for a more detailed investigation.

Conclusion The great increase of interest on geo-linguistic studies in Brazil is an extremely satisfactory accomplishment. The fact that almost all regions of the country are already mapped and atlases are being assembled shows the constant thirst of the community for cultural knowledge, and ultimately increases the value of a motivational study like this one. The feats being accomplished by Brazilian researchers in the field of dialectology are certainly a reason to be proud. Yet, not much has been done within the field of onomasiology, as the commentaries that we can find in the Atlas Linguarum Europae, so we expect that this study can help opening grounds for more motivational researches in Brazilian Portuguese. Through this research, we could find the great amount of work done by Saussure, Benveniste, Guiraud, Alinei, Dalbera, among others, which care the linguistics and particularly the lexical motivation. These authors, alongside with the onomasiological studies of Goudi have constituted the main source of research for the theoretical section this study. The great data compilation done by the Brazilian atlases and the articles as those of Cardoso & Ferreira, Pisciotta and Almeida, on the other hand, have made a reliable source for the data analysis, in spite of the onomasiological studies field not yet being much expanded in Brazil. As future perspectives to follow this work, we envisage a research concerning the geographical distribution of the denominations, as well as an updating to the presented data, as the material that we had available was very limited relatively to 24

what has already been produced to this day. The study has also raised some questions worth of investigation, which have already been described in the previous section. The goals to this study are not only to describe a set of linguistic motivations for the denominations of a phenomenon, but mainly to make clear the connection between the process of denomination of a concept and the human cognition, as the motivations for each term becomes more evident, and we can see that it is the way that people, and therefore communities, perceive their reality that leads to the creation of a new name. By relating the physical characteristics of a new subject to be described with its cultural elements and the communities’ socio-cultural context is that new signs are born, with the intent to be understood and accepted by the members of the linguistic community.

Bibliography Brazilian atlases that constitute the main source of analysis ALABC = Cristianini, A. (2007). Atlas semântico-lexical da Região do Grande ABC, São Paulo, doctorate thesis. ALBA = Rossi, N. (1963). Atlas prévio dos falares baianos, Rio de Janeiro, Ministério de Educação e Cultura/Instituto Nacional do Livro. ALMS = Oliveira, D. (2007). Atlas lingüístico de Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, Editora UFMS. ALPB = Aragão, M., Menezes, C. (1984). Atlas lingüístico da Paraíba, Brasília, UFPB/CNPq. ALPonta = Reis, R. (2006). Atlas lingüístico do município de Ponta Porã – MS: um registro das línguas em contato na fronteira do Brasil com o Paraguai, Três Lagoas, master thesis. ALPR = Aguilera, V. (1994). Atlas lingüístico do Paraná, Curitiba, Imprensa Oficial do Estado. ALSE = Ferreira, C. S. et al. (1987). Atlas lingüístico de Sergipe, Salvador, Universidade Federal da Bahia/Fundação Estadual da Cultura de Sergipe.

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ALSP = Encarnação, M. R. (2010). Atlas semântico-lexical de Caraguatatuba, Ilhabela, São Sebastião e Ubatuba – municípios do Litoral Norte de São Paulo, São Paulo, doctorate thesis.

Other atlases ALE = (1983-1990) Atlas Linguarum Europae, Assen-Maastricht, Van Gorcum, Vol. I, 1-4. ALiR = (1996; 2001) Atlas Linguistique Roman, Roma, Instituto Poligrafico e Zecca Della Stato.

Dictionaries Dictionary.com = Dictionary.com (on-line), from Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition, http://dictionary.reference.com. Accessed: July 19, 2012. Priberam = Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa (on-line),

http://www.priberam.pt/dlpo/dlpo.aspx?pal=salteira. Accessed: July 26, 2012.

Other works consulted Aguilera, V. (1999). Atlas Lingüístico do Brasil: primeiros estudos lexicais, Florianópolis. ALiB – Atlas Lingüístico do Brasil. http://twiki.ufba.br/twiki/bin/view/Alib/WebHome Acessed: July 19, 2012. Alinei, M. (1981). “Tre studi onomasiologici sull’arcobaleno, Presentazione”, in Quaderni di Semantica, Year II, no. 1:51-53, Bologna, il Mulino. Alinei. M. (1983). “Arc-en-ciel”, in Atlas Linguarum Europae – commentaires Vol. 1:47-80, Assen-Masstricht, Van Gorcum. Alinei, M. (1988). “Slavic baba and other ‘old women’ in European dialects. A semantic comparison”, in AA. VV. Wokól Jezyka. Rozprawy i studia poswiecone pamieci profesora Mieczyslawa Szymczaka, pp. 41-51, Wroclaw, Wydawnyctwo Polskiej Akademii Nauj.

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Alinei, M. (1996). Origini delle lingue d'Europa, I: La Teoria della Continuità, Bologna, Il Mulino. Alinei, M. (2011). “A Pré-história dos nomes do arco-íris”, in Arqueologia Etimológica – Três Estudos acerca da Continuidade Lingüístico-Cultural do Paleolítico, pp. 3-14, Lisboa, Apenas Livros. Almeida, L. (2007). À guisa de uma topologia para os tabus lingüísticos – proposta para um glossário, São Paulo, doctorate thesis. Botelho, J. M., Leite, I. (2005). “Metaplasmos contemporâneos – um estudo acerca das atuais transformações fonéticas da Língua Portuguesa”, in Anais do II Congresso de Letras da UERJ, São Gonçalo, available at http://www.filologia.org.br/. Buckup, P.A., Menezes, N. A., Ghazzi, M. (2007). Catálogo das espécies de peixes de água doce do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro. Cardoso, S. (2006). “O projeto ALiB e sua trajetória”, in Documentos 2: projeto atlas lingüístico do Brasil, pp. 27-34, Salvador, Quarteto. Chambers, J. K., Trudgill, P. (1998 [1980]). Dialectology, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Dalbera, J.-P. (2002). “Le corpus entre données, analyse et théorie”, in Corpus 1:89104, available at http://corpus.revues.org/index10.html. Dalbera, J.-P. (2006). Des dialectes au langage : une archéologie du sens, Paris, Honoré Champion. Cardoso, S., Ferreira, C. (1999). “Arco-íris no Brasil: um estudo lingüísticoantropológico a partir dos atlas regionais”, in Revista do GELNE Year I no. 2:21-24, available at http://www.gelne.ufc.br. Gaidoz, H., Rolland, E. et al. (1981). “L’arc-en-ciel”, in Quaderni di Semantica, Year II, n. 1:111-146, Bologna, il Mulino. Goudi, M. (2009). “De « Mme Lune » à « Mme Hélène » : les désignations de l’arcen-ciel et ses avatars dans les varietés dialectales de l’île de Lesbos (Grèce)”, in Images de la langue : représentations spatiales, sémantiques et graphiques, pp. 9098, Arles.

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Goudi, M. (2010). Étude motivationelle de la zoonymie dialectale dans les variétés linguistiques de l’île de Lesbos (Grèce), Grenoble, doctorate thesis. Guiraud, P. (1986 [1967]). Structures étymologiques du lexique français, Paris, Payot. Pisciotta, H. (2000). “A área da semântica da natureza nos atlas lingüísticos regionais do Brasil”, in Estudos Lingüísticos v.29:405-410, São Paulo. Sá, E. (2011). “O léxico na região nordeste: questões diatópicas”, in ReVEL, Vol. 9, no. 17:244-261, available at http://www.revel.inf.br. Saussure, F. (1959). Course in General Linguistics, translated by Wade Baskin, New York, Philosophical Library. Tolstoj, N. (1981). “Dalla geografia delle parole slave: ‘arcobaleno’”, in Quaderni di Semantica, Year II, no. 1:55-98, Bologna, il Mulino. Wikipédia contributors, "Anexo: Lista de peixes do Brasil”, in Wikipédia, a enciclopédia 2012. livre (on-line), http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anexo:Lista_de_peixes_do_Brasil. Accessed: July 26,

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Summary Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 1 1. General principles ........................................................................................................ 4 1.1. Representation of reality ..................................................................................... 4 1.2. Theoretical aspects of the linguistic motivation............................................. 4 1.3. The interest of a motivational approach in the cognition study.................. 6 1.4. The advantages of a geo-linguistic representation........................................ 6 2. The focus of this study ............................................................................................... 8 2.1. Why to focus the research on Brazil ................................................................. 8 2.2. Why to search on the rainbow............................................................................ 9 2.3. Methodology........................................................................................................... 9 3. Data analysis ................................................................................................................11 3.1. Analysis of the linguistic data ...........................................................................11 3.2. Motivations on the different denominations...................................................13 a. Arco celeste (Arco inselente)................................................................................13 b. Aliança de Deus, Arco da aliança, Arco de Noé (Aliança, Arca de Noé).........13 c. Arco da velha (Arco da véia, Arco do velho, Arco do véio) ...............................14 d. Arco-íris (Alco-íris, Arcu-rila, Arcu-ir, Arcu-ílis, Arco-íra) ...................................14 e. Aro do tempo..........................................................................................................15 f. Barrado, (as) Barras, Barra de nuvens.................................................................15 g. Circo........................................................................................................................16 h. Cu de boi, Olho de boi...........................................................................................16 i. Papa-peixe...............................................................................................................17 j. Rabo de galo ...........................................................................................................17 k. Sartera ....................................................................................................................17 l. Sub-dourada, (as) Torres, (os) Véus, (os) Vieiras...............................................18 3.3. Motivational group variations............................................................................19 3.4. Spatial variations..................................................................................................20 4. Discussions..................................................................................................................23 Conclusion........................................................................................................................24 Bibliography .....................................................................................................................25 Brazilian atlases that constitute the main source of analysis............................25 Other atlases.................................................................................................................26 Dictionaries ...................................................................................................................26 Other works consulted ...............................................................................................26 Appendices .......................................................................................................................30 Appendix A – Brazilian geographic map with the names of the states.................. I Appendix B – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALABC ...................... II Appendix C – Phonetic map for the term arco-íris in the ALBA ............................III Appendix D – Phonetic map for the term arco celeste in the ALBA .................... IV Appendix E – Phonetic map for the term arco de velha in the ALBA ....................V Appendix F – Phonetic map for other names for the rainbow in the ALBA ....... VI Appendix G – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALMS (1) ................ VII Appendix H – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALMS (2) ............... VIII Appendix I – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALPB ......................... IX Appendix J – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALPR ..........................X Appendix K – Phonetic map for the term arco-íris in the ALSE............................ XI Appendix L – Phonetic map for other names for the rainbow in the ALSE....... XII

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Appendices

30

Appendix A – Brazilian geographic map with the names of the states

I

Appendix B – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALABC

II

Appendix C – Phonetic map for the term arco-íris in the ALBA

III

Appendix D – Phonetic map for the term arco celeste in the ALBA

IV

Appendix E – Phonetic map for the term arco de velha in the ALBA

V

Appendix F – Phonetic map for other names for the rainbow in the ALBA

VI

Appendix G – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALMS (1)

VII

Appendix H – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALMS (2)

VIII

Appendix I – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALPB

IX

Appendix J – Semantic-lexical map for the rainbow in the ALPR

X

Appendix K – Phonetic map for the term arco-íris in the ALSE

XI

Appendix L – Phonetic map for other names for the rainbow in the ALSE

XII

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