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Various Faces of Animal Metaphor in English and Polish


Robert Kiełtyka

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.
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The aim set to this work has been to offer an overall yet detail-sensitive picture of animal metaphor in English in comparative terms to Polish, and – data permitting – other both Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages. Yet, linguistic practice shows that ambitious tasks are seldom completed and, undoubtedly, this work is far from being exhaustive both in the shape of the theoretical apparatus employed and the scope of the linguistic material targeted. However, we believe this analysis offers a relatively reliable foundation on which certain thus far unspecified generalisations and observations may be formulated both in relation to the lexical material and pertaining to the nature of semantic change per se, viewed as a cognitive process where broadly understood metaphor plays a crucial role.

In Chapter 1 we argued that conceptual metaphor may successfully be viewed as a source of cognitively motivated semantic change. True enough, one of the undeniable advantages of cognitive paradigm over the decompositional approach to semantic change is that the former brings to the fore the role of the metaphorisation processes in the mechanism of semantic alterations. It must be pointed out, however, that metaphor viewed as a language device and not a figure of speech was largely neglected (see Smart (1831), Schmitz (1985), Nerlich (1996, 1998), Nerlich and Clarke (2001)) until the advent of cognitive linguistics which univocally appreciated fully its enormous role in language and cognition. Among others, our findings truly corroborate the observation made by Sweetser (1990) and Kleparski (1997) that...

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