Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Language, Innovation, Culture and Education 2016

A Componential Analysis of the Bamboo Fans’ Names in Thailand: an Ethnosemantic Study


Thepsatri Rajabhat University, Thailand


Bamboo fans are a unique Thai handicraft made of bamboo strips plaited into various patterns and colors. They have been made in Banphraek district, Phra Nakorn Si Ayutthaya province, Thailand for over 80 years. Apart from being local products which contributes to a number of income, they are served as the district cultural heritage identity for the district. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to find new generation who want to carry on this local wisdom and it will be disappeared very soon. Several attempts have concerned with folklores but there has been no study on their names and how to make them thoroughly and systematically. In this linguistic study, the meanings of the names of traditional Thai bamboo fans were analyzed by employed ethnosemantic approach in order to discover the system of naming of the Thai bamboo fans according to their patterns in order to reveal people’s thoughts and worldviews reflected on the fans’ names. The data was elicited from handful elderly fan makers in the village. The results show that there are 17 traditional names of bamboo fan patterns. Each pattern is distinguished from one another by seven dimensions of contrast, as follows: (1) the shape of cross, (2) the shape of square, (3) the shape of triangle, (4) the shape of circle, (5) the shape of heart, (6) the shape of asterisk, and (7) the shape of spot. In conclusion, this ethnosemantic study can reflect that the villagers are closely connected to nature and the objects around them. It also reveals people’s rich imagination of constructing and combining such simple geometrical forms into various shapes and lines


Ethnosemantics, Componential analysis, Anthropology, Culture

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