Toward a Lexicon of Common Figurative Units
The languages of Europe, with their intense cultural interconnections and their common intellectual and literary traditions, have been exposed to mutu- al influences for centuries, a fact that has led to a wide range of cross- linguistic similarities. These similarities have been observed at diverse lin- guistic levels, including the level of elements of the figurative language, such as idioms. The most intriguing question, however, namely which Europe- wide common idioms actually exist, has not yet been answered. This ques- tion was the first impulse for my book. A good seven years ago, I sent an initial questionnaire that consisted of twelve idioms to about 40 idiom research experts of various languages – the result was encouraging: ten of these idioms showed lexical-semantic equi- valents in almost all of the participating languages, ranging from Icelandic to Spanish, from Estonian and Latvian to Hungarian, Romanian, and Greek. The next task was to identify as many of such figurative units as possible by means of systematic investigation, that is, to discover idioms that exist in a large number of European languages (and even beyond) showing a similar lexical structure and figurative core meaning, for which I coined the term widespread idioms. After some preliminary tests, I came to the decision to include all European languages accessible to my research. My starting point was the idea that today, in an increasingly uniting Europe and with modern means of communication at our disposal, it should be possible, perhaps more easily than ever before, to find...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.