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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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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...

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