Figurative Language: Cross-cultural and Cross-linguistic Perspectives

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The aim of this study is to discover basic principles underlying linguistic figurativeness and to develop a theory that is capable of capturing conventional figurative language (referred to as CFLT, i.e. Conventional Figurative Language Theory). The rich empirical data analysed for this publication include, among other things, idioms, proverbs, lexicalised metaphors, and figurative compounds, drawn from ten standard languages with widely different genetic relationships and/or cultural backgrounds (English, German, Dutch, Swedish, French, Russian, Lithuanian, Greek, Finnish, Japanese) and one Low German dialect.
The main topic of this work is the relationship between the figurative meaning of a lexical unit and the mental images that form its conceptual basis. Using a cognitive approach, the study deals with the central question of what types of knowledge are involved in creating motivating links between these two conceptual levels of figurative units. Of all the possible types of knowledge relevant to conventional figurative language, so-called "cultural knowledge" can be shown to be crucial. As a consequence, CFLT has to include elements of cultural semiotics and other culture-related disciplines.

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"This is a very detailed work based on a sizable corpus... It is rigorous and comprehensive as well as comprehensible in its synthesis of concepts, techniques, and perspectives... The extensive application of the theoretical framework across different languages and semantic domains is a real strength of this book... The theory and its application by the originators is well demonstrated, and is itself very practical: not quite a cookbook, but it both explains the theory and demonstrates its application in comprehensible steps" - Dennis Alexander, University of New England
General Issues Conventional Figurative Language and Phraseology On the Cross-Linguistic Equivalence of Idioms Motivation of Conventional Figurative Units "False Friends" and Paronyms The Cognitive Theory of the Metaphor Idioms of Fear: A Cognitive Approach Cognitive Modelling of Figurative Semantics Specific Frames: The Concept House in Language and Culture Culture and Figurative Language Cultural Symbolism in Figurative Language Numeral Words and Number Symbols in Culture and Language: Case Studies Animal Metaphors and Animal Symbols: Case Studies Conclusions References