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Cognitive Explorations into Metaphor and Metonymy

Edited By Frank Polzenhagen, Zoltan Kövecses, Stefanie Vogelbacher and Sonja Kleinke

This volume presents selected contributions to an annual symposium on metaphor and metonymy held at the English Department of Heidelberg University. It brings together papers by lecturers, PhD students and graduates from three universities – Heidelberg University, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and the University of East Anglia in Norwich. The contributions illustrate the plurality of perspectives and methods in current cognitive-linguistic research on metaphor and metonymy and exemplify some of the ways in which they can be combined. The papers also attest to the wide range of domains and topics to which metaphor- and metonymy-based research can be applied, including emotion terms, political and scientific discourse, morphology, cross-cultural variation and internet communication.
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The metaphor of the “body politic” across languages and cultures: Andreas Musolff

1. Introduction

Extract

The metaphor of the “body politic” across languages and cultures

    Andreas Musolff (UEA, Norwich)

(1)Student A: ‘The head of the body represents the Queen of England, as she is in charge of the whole country and she is royalty. The features of the head (eyes, nose, mouth and ears) represent the different official people, such as politicians, the Prime Minister, the Government.’

(2)Student B: ‘Beijing: brain (government); Shanghai: hug/arm (welcome to foreign people); Guangzhen: feet (keep China going); Hong Kong: face (familiar to everyone, representative); Taiwan: hair (we can live without hair but it is necessary for beauty).’

The examples above come from a research corpus1 of answers given by MA students at the University of East Anglia (UEA) who completed the task of describing the body politic of their home country. As can be surmised from the geographical references, the first answer was given by a British student, the second one by a Chinese student. But the two answers do not just differ in terms of geography but reveal a difference in the conceptual structure of the NATION-AS-BODY metaphor.2 The first response describes aspects of the United Kingdom’s official constitutional system in terms of a (human) body’s head and its various prominent parts. The Chinese student’s response, by contrast, is based on a selection of geographical entities in China which are linked to parts of the human anatomy through ← 85 | 86 → functional correspondences between the political institutions based...

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