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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

By David Crystal

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Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases

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Academic Paper


Title: Of animals, foods, objects, and plants, or how women are conceptualised: A cross-cultural perspective
Author: Zouhair Maalej
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Manouba
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science
Abstract: Work with conceptual metaphors has served to ascertaining the embodiment of emotions in general (Averill, 1990; Yu, 1995), morality (Lakoff, 1996), anxiety (Fesmire, 1995), anger (Lakoff, 1987; Jay, 1992), anger and happiness (Yu, 1995), lust and sex (Emanatian, 1995; Hines, 1996; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980-1999), immigration (Santa Ana, 1996-1998), etc. This paper is a report of work in progress about the conceptualisation and evaluation of women in a range of languages. A set of ten conceptual domains in Tunisian Arabic (TA) to talk about women is taken as a background to measure the data from other languages. Data from a dozen culturally close and culturally remote languages has revealed the use of the source domains of animals, foods, objects, and plants (AFOP) to conceptualise women. This phenomenon is not only a re-categorisation strategy but a modal perspective, i.e. a far-reaching attitude building and evaluative strategy. Cross-culturally, some of the findings reveal patterns of similarities and differences whereby the similarities relate to universal cognitive embodiment (which is perceived in the shared superordinate categories represented by the conceptual source domains) whereas the differences have to do with the culturally-specific ways of spelling out the embodiment (which is revealed through the choice of basic-level categories). Some of the cross-linguistic conclusions of this study have to do with (i) the modal dimension of metaphor which consists in modifying the 'Great Chain of Being', (ii) the value of metaphor in education as an instrument for teaching culture.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: In Progress
Venue: University of Manouba, 5-7 April 2001
Publication Info: Paper read to the 4th International Conference on Researching and Applying Metaphor: Metaphor, Cognition, and Culture


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