Abstract

Previous studies on body-part metaphors in Turkish investigate their cultural relevance, etymology, or semantic properties (cf. Baş 2015). Aksan (2011) focusing particularly on ‘head’, analyses metaphors that are either compounds or are sentential. The present chapter is the first on phrasal constructions that contain body parts in Turkish, in particular, ‘head’. Turkish has five terms for ‘head’, baş, kafa, kelle, ser, and tepe, all of which can form idiomatic expressions. Based on a survey of 350 phrasal idioms, we observe that especially idioms formed with the first two, baş and kafa are i) very productive, and ii) display a number of correlated asymmetries. These asymmetries pertain to the notions of internal vs. external structures, living entities vs. objects and mechanisms, body/self/emotion vs. mind, neutral vs. marked contexts, and to various other categories. Emotion vs. thought as one of these dichotomies is uniquely captured by two different terms for the same body part, ‘head’, whereas this very same dichotomy is, in other languages, expressed through different body parts (heart vs. head, cf. Maalej & Yu 2011).

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