Animal-related concepts across languages and cultures from a cognitive linguistic perspective
This paper investigates the use of animal-related concepts in the proverbs of English, French, Arabic, and Kabyle. Research in cognitive linguistics has highlighted the important role played by cultural influences in conceptual metaphor variation (Kövecses 2005). Animal-related proverbs constitute interesting examples of cultural influences upon conceptual metaphor and its instantiation in language (Belkhir 2014, 2012). The principle of hierarchy underlying the Great Chain Metaphor Theory has been questioned. It has been demonstrated that in addition to the ranking of human and animal concepts on a hierarchical scale, animal concepts were also ranked on the scale (Belkhir 2014). The present article attempts to show that there exists another type of ranking that seems to have never been explored to date; that is, the ranking of concepts within the same animal species. Therefore, this paper offers a cross-cultural cognitive study of some animal-related concepts’ use in a sample of English, French, Arabic, and Kabyle proverbs. Its aim is to explore the influence of cultural contexts and cultural models upon the main meaning foci characterizing the concepts dog, lion, ass, horse, camel, and ox leading to, not only a hierarchical classification of these animals, but to a classification of animals within one animal species as a result of the influences of cultural contexts and cultural models. The conclusion is that sociocultural contexts determine the main meaning foci characterizing the animal source domain concepts involved in the human is animal metaphor resulting in animal-animal rankings within different species, and animal-animal rankings within the same species.
Keywords: Conceptual Metaphor Theory, animal-related concepts, proverbs, corpus-based analysis, cultural influences
Published online: 04 February 2020
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