A metaphor-based account of semantic relations among proverbs
The paper deals with semantic relations in the field of proverbs from the standpoint of Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Our main claim is that proverb understanding is conceptually complex, involving many construal operations, namely metaphor. Metaphor is assumed to play a crucial role in framing and relating proverbs to one another via various semantic relationships. Three semantic relations will be highlighted: synonymy, antonymy and polysemy. Synonymous proverbs will be shown to be structured by similar metaphors, whereas antonymous proverbs by contradictory metaphors. As regards polysemous proverbs, our focus will be on a specific polysemy, consisting of contradictory meanings. Overall, we will attempt to build a cognitive model for proverbs semantic relationships, based on three main assumptions: first, proverbs have relatively stable meaning. Second, rather than sharply distinct, conventionalized meaning and contextual meaning of proverbs form a continuum, residing in their common conceptual base. Third, such a common conceptual base is metaphor-dependent.
Keywords: proverb, semantic relations, conceptual metaphor, metaphorical pluralism, frame
Published online: 12 July 2019
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