Edited by Iwona Kraska-Szlenk
[Cognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts 12] 2020
► pp. 53–75
The metaphoric function of body-part terms to denote entire things in other domains is a frequent phenomenon. Body-part terms, are, however, also used to refer to specific parts of inanimate items, a phenomenon which is more frequent in African than in European languages. The names of certain body-part terms are also used within the body domain as modifiers in compound denotations of other, smaller body-parts. There are only few examples where names of animal body-parts, parts of plants or of persons have this function. More frequently the names of artefacts, in particular tools, are used metaphorically as modifiers in compound body-part terms. Compound terms which contain names of part of plants constitute the nucleus. They are likewise rare and have not been found in African languages.
The study is based on data in German, English, French, Dutch, Sango and Zande, but there are also examples from other languages.