Various Faces of Animal Metaphor in English and Polish

by Robert Kiełtyka (Author)
©2016 Monographs 271 Pages


This book is dedicated to the issue of animal metaphor together with its intricacies and internal complexity. Its main objective is to present a unified picture of the role animal terms have played in the shape of English and other natural languages. The author addresses such aspects of animal metaphor as the problem of animal names used as surnames, so-called verbal and adjectival zoosemy, or the use of names of animal body parts with reference to people. The cognitively-oriented analysis is carried out in terms of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory, which is capable of accounting for semantic change in a panchronic perspective. The results show that virtually any facet of humanity, which is beyond the norm, may be viewed, perceived, conceived of and expressed in animal terms.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of contents
  • Preface
  • Typographic Conventions
  • List of Abbreviations
  • List of Figures
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: On the Complexity, Multidirectionality and Universality of Animal Metaphor
  • 1.0 Introduction
  • 1.1 Metaphor as a Source of Cognitively Motivated Semantic Change
  • 1.2 Conceptual Metaphor Theory
  • 1.3 The Motivation of Conceptual Metaphors
  • 1.4 Metonymy
  • 1.5 The Scope of Animal Metaphor and the Theory of the Great Chain of Being
  • 1.5.1 The Working of Animal Metaphor on Various Levels of the Great Chain of Being
  • Animal Metaphor <GOD IS ANIMAL>
  • Zoosemy: Animal Metaphor <HUMAN BEING IS ANIMAL>
  • The Nominating Function of Zoosemy: Animal Names Used as Human Surnames
  • The Morphology-Semantics Interface of Animal-related Surnames
  • Diminutivisation-related Surnames
  • The Formation of Animal-related Surnames with Regard to the Gender Parameter
  • Surnames Based on Animal-related Occupations/Professions
  • Animal-based Surnames of Latin/Greek Origin
  • Surnames Based on Animal-related Location/Habitat
  • Surnames Based on Animal Body Parts
  • Surnames Derived from Animal Verbs
  • Animal-related Surnames: The Main Observations
  • Animal Metaphor <ANIMAL IS (ANOTHER) ANIMAL>
  • Animal Metaphor <PLANT IS ANIMAL>
  • Animal Metaphor in the Context of Toponymy
  • Animal Metaphor in the Context of Medicine
  • 1.6 Towards a Zoosemic Analysis
  • 1.7 On the Varied Morpho-semantic Productivity and Complexity of Zoosemy
  • 1.8 On the Cross-linguistic Universality and Productivity of Zoosemy
  • 1.9 On the Cross-linguistic and Cross-cultural Workings of Zoosemy
  • 1.9.1 Some Aspects of Cross-cultural Zoosemy
  • The Symbolism of the Owl
  • The Symbolism of the Pig
  • 1.9.2 On the Polarization of the Conceptual Dimension BEHAVIOUR/CHARACTER
  • 1.9.3 Cross-cultural Zoosemy: Some Implications
  • Chapter 2: On the Transparency and Opaqueness of Zoosemy
  • 2.0 Introduction
  • 2.1 Towards the Categorisation of Verbal Zoosemy
  • 2.1.1 Partial Conclusions
  • 2.2 On the Relation between Zoosemic Transfer and the Position of Entities Involved in the GCB: The Case of Equine and Canine Verbal Zoosemy
  • 2.2.1 The Notion of Panchrony
  • 2.2.2 Štekauer et al.’s (2001) Model
  • 2.2.3 English Equine Nominal and Verbal Zoosemy
  • 2.2.4 English Canine Nominal and Verbal Zoosemy
  • 2.2.5 Partial Conclusions
  • 2.3 Towards the Categorisation of Adjectival Zoosemy
  • 2.3.1 On the Categorisation of Adjectival Zoosemy: A Morphological Perspective
  • 2.3.2 On the Categorisation of Adjectival Zoosemy: A Semantic Perspective
  • 2.3.3 Partial Conclusions
  • Chapter 3: Towards Various Mechanisms of Zoosemy-based Transfers
  • 3.0 Introduction
  • 3.1 Zoosemy as Metaphor-Metonymy Interaction: An Overview
  • 3.1.1 Nominal and Verbal Zoosemy: The Case of Metaphor-Metonymy Interface
  • The Derivation tail > to tail
  • In Search of Partial Conclusions
  • The Derivation oganiać (się) > ogon
  • In Search of Partial Conclusions
  • The Derivation snout > to snout
  • In Search of Partial Conclusions
  • The Derivation pysk > pyskować
  • In Search of Partial Conclusions
  • 3.2 Foodsemy as a Subtype of Zoosemy
  • 3.3 Habitat-conditioned Zoosemy
  • 3.4 Reversed Zoosemy
  • 3.5 GCB-level-conditioned Human-centred Degeneration of Animal Terms
  • 3.6 Concluding Remarks
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendices
  • Appendix 1: Verbal Zoosemy
  • Appendix 2: Adjectival Zoosemy
  • Appendix 3: Zoosemy Based on Animal Body Parts
  • Appendix 4: Habitat-zoosemy
  • Index of Names

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Recent decades have witnessed a certain comeback of the interest in the history of natural languages both in Poland and abroad. This applies in equal measure to historical morphology (e.g. Wełna (1996), Fisiak (2011), Bowern, Evans and Miceli (2008), Kastovsky and Giegerich (2013)), syntax (e.g. Fisiak (1984), Roberts and Roussou (2003), Johns (1981), Faarlund (1990), Roberts (2007)) and phonology (e.g. Honeybone and Salmons (2013), Minkova, (2013), Schrijver, (1990)). Likewise, in the last 20 years or so many linguistic centres in the world have turned their attention to those areas of research that preoccupied the attention of the 19th century scholars of language (e.g. Reisig (1881–1890), Bréal (1883, 1897), Paul (1890)) for whom the historical meanderings of lexical meaning, their causes, conditionings and regularity were one of the main targets.

Starting from the 1980s – in the aftermath of the years of domination of Chomskyan linguistics – there has been a gradual rise in levels of interest in historical semantics in such academic centres as University of Leiden/University of Leuven (e.g. Geeraerts (1983), (1985), (1997)), University of Stockholm (e.g. Warren (1992)), Umeå University (e.g. Persson and Rydén (1996), Kardela and Kleparski (1990)), University of München (e.g. Lipka (1985)). In Poland starting from the publication of Kleparski’s (1990) Semantic Change in English one can speak of a gradual, yet recently much accelerated resurgence of diachronic semantics, the effect of which was the formation of what has come to be known as the Rzeszów School of Diachronic Semantics. This body of enthusiasts of historical semantics has been targeting – frequently from a contrastive, onomasiological and panchronic perspective – various lexical macro-categories both in Indo-European languages, such as English, Polish, Italian, Slovak and non-Indo-European languages, such as Hungarian and Chinese.

With the advance of research work produced by the Resovian linguists, new categories of semantic change have been singled out and documented and tentatively drawn regularities in the development of lexical meaning have been formulated. In particular, one needs to mention here such monographic publications as Kleparski (1997), Górecka-Smolińska and Kleparski (2012), Cymbalista and Kleparski (2013), Kiełtyka (2008a), Kopecka (2011), Kochman-Haładyj and Kleparski (2011), Grygiel and Kleparski (2007), which coupled with over 200 journal papers, chapters in edited volumes and conference presentations make – if not a coherent whole then – at least a significant contribution to our understanding of lexical semantic change of Polish making. ← 9 | 10 →

The book that I have an opportunity to preface here is a case of how a trot may break into a gallop because while R. Kiełtyka’s (2008) monograph titled On Zoosemy: The Study of Middle English and Early Modern English DOMESTICATED ANIMALS keeps up with the Resovian tradition of analyzing semantic developments of nouns with special insight into animal metaphor, this in depth-study delves deeper into the gist of animal metaphorisation processes. Unlike his predecessors and colleagues, in this work the author looks for effects, results, remains or cases of fossilization of the main driving forces of animal metaphor in various grammatical categories including verbs, adjectives and proper nouns. To top it all, R. Kiełtyka develops the ideas recently advanced in the literature of the subject by finding that newly proposed categories of semantic change such as foodsemy not only overlap with zoosemy but they co-exist and frequently co-function in language much like the mechanisms of metonymy and metaphor which are not always easily discernible in the way and scope they operate.

It remains to be hoped that the monograph that Robert Kiełtyka offers to the readers will provide yet another brick in the wall of the Polish tradition of appreciating the historical dimension in the study of human language, thought and culture. Animal metaphor – subject to such intense scrutiny in Robert Kiełtyka’s text – provides a convincing argument in favour of how pervading and omnipresent animal metaphor has been in the history of language.

Grzegorz A. Kleparski

University of Rzeszów

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Typographic Conventions

Bold capitals are employed for:

images Names of conceptual domains (e.g. DOMAIN OF CHARACTER/BEHAVIOUR […], DOMAIN OF AGE […], DOMAIN OF SPECIES […]).

Bold underlined capitals are used for:

images Names of conceptual categories (e.g. DOMESTICATED ANIMALS, HUMAN BEING, EQUIDAE).

Italic capitals are employed for:

images Names of conceptual dimensions/zones/spheres (e.g. BEHAVIOUR/CHARACTER, CONTEMPT/OPPROBRIUM, MORALITY).

Bracketed capitals are used for:

images Names of conceptual/attributive elements/values (e.g. (SILLY)^(DUMB), (CLEVER), (OLD)).

Italics are employed for:

images Names of lexical categories (e.g. mule, colt, ass).

Single quotation marks are used for:

images Meanings/senses/sense-threads of lexical categories (e.g. mare ‘a female horse’, puppy ‘a young dog’, tomcat ‘a male cat’).

Angles are employed to:

images Show that a sense-thread of a lexical category changes (e.g. bitch ‘a female dog’ > ‘a lewd/sensual woman’, filly ‘a young mare’ > ‘a young lively girl’).

images Indicate conceptual metaphors (e.g. <A HUMAN BEING IS AN ANIMAL>).

Slashes are used to:

images Show that lexical categories, sense-threads, conceptual domains or conceptual dimensions are conceptually related (e.g. cortald/curtald, ‘lewd/sensual’, DOMAIN OF MORALITY/PROFESSIONS SOCIAL FUNCTIONS […], BEHAVIOUR/CHARACTER).

Asterisks are traditionally employed to:

images Indicate a non-attested, reconstructed or hypothetical form (e.g. Pro.Ger. *berc-an/*berk-an ‘to bark’, Pro.Ger. *mangjan ‘to mingle’).

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List of Abbreviations


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (December)
Conceptual metaphor Metonymy Cognitive Linguistics Categorisation
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 271 pp., 21 graphs

Biographical notes

Robert Kiełtyka (Author)

Robert Kiełtyka is an Associate Professor in the Institute of English Studies at the University of Rzeszów (Poland). His main research interests include diachronic semantics, cognitive linguistics and morphology-semantics interface.


Title: Various Faces of Animal Metaphor in English and Polish
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