Article published in:Embodiment via Body Parts: Studies from various languages and cultures
Edited by Zouheir Maalej and Ning Yu
[Human Cognitive Processing 31] 2011
► pp. 149–170
Inner and outer body parts
The case of hara ‘belly’ and koshi ‘lower back’ in Japanese
The aim of this chapter is to consider the relationship between the outer and inner body as sources of motivation for metonymy and metaphor. We base our discussion on examples of Japanese expressions that use outer and inner areas of the body centered around the abdominal region: hara ‘belly’ and koshi ‘lower back’, respectively. Figurative expressions with koshi, which are linked to a human possessor, are strongly related to motion or attitude, while the ones with hara are related to mental or spiritual states or activities. Moreover, there is a tendency for the two words to differ in the way that their core meanings are tropically extended: koshi-related expressions are mainly extended metonymically, whereas hara-related expressions are extended metaphorically. However, this tendency of motivation by metonymy and metaphor does not hold when koshi and hara are figuratively used with non-human referents in the external world.
Published online: 18 August 2011