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English versus Slavic

Lexicon in a Morphological and Semantic Perspective

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Edited By Ewa Konieczna and Robert Kiełtyka

This book offers a collection of papers pertaining to the most thought-provoking problems in the areas of theoretical and contrastive linguistics. The contributions are devoted to current developments in morphological and semantic theorizing. The contrastive analyses conducted by the authors examine the structure of English and selected Slavic languages.

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Language of Love: On Zoosemy and Terms of Endearment in English, Russian and Polish (Agnieszka Grząśko)

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Agnieszka Grząśko

Language of Love: On Zoosemy and Terms of Endearment in English, Russian and Polish

Abstract: Love has more than one name. At least in an intimate context. When addressing people we feel affection to we tend to employ such words which are reserved only for them. Some language users are fond of traditional and generic ‘love-isms’, whereas others coin their own unusual terms of affection. Yet, there is also a substantial group of people who make use of animal-terms, food-terms or plant-terms. The main purpose of the paper that follows is to elucidate the term ‘endearment’ and divide English, Polish and Russian terms of endearment into smaller groups. But above all, we aim to scrutinize the semantic development of a few selected English pet names which result from the operation of animal metaphorization (cony, ladybird, sparrow, mouse, lamb and kitten) and search for their Polish and Russian counterparts. Furthermore, we shall discuss the role of the cognitive mechanisms in the changes of their meaning.

Keywords: endearments, zoosemy, foodsemy, plantosemy, cognitive approach

1. Introduction

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