Semantics of Body Part Terms
General Trends and a Case Study of Swahili
University of Warsaw
The book discusses lexical semantics of body part terms within the theoretical framework of Cognitive Linguistics. Based on extensive data of European and non-European languages it focuses on cross-linguistic tendencies in semantic extensions of body part terms in multiple domains, such as, emotions, social relations, grammaticalization and others. It is also argued that universal embodiment and cognitive patterns must be investigated in relation to cultural traditions and language usage. The second part of the book provides a corpus-based analysis of major body part terms in Swahili as a detailed case study. It highlights the importance of metonymy and pragmatic strengthening in conventionalization and lexical transfer demonstrating how specific senses are constructed in an array of various contexts.
In general, the book contributes to research on embodiment in conceptualization and language use, it adds to studies on metaphor, metonymy and pragmatic inference in shaping lexical categories, it supports the hypothesis of regularity of semantic change mediated through cultural models and language conventionalization. It also provides new data and analyses of Swahili and additional languages discussed for comparison (e.g. English, Polish, Arabic, Turkish) and contains references to the issues of body part terms in over 80 other languages.
ISBN 9783862885787. LINCOM Studies in Semantics 07. 240pp. 2014.