Edited by Angeliki Athanasiadou
[Human Cognitive Processing 56] 2017
► pp. 179–198
Chapter 7. The hand in figurative thought and language
The hand is a rich source of figurative language. The paper claims that this richness has to do with the central role of the hand in human active involvement in the world. This claim fits recent developments in phenomenological philosophy, according to which cognition is based on enactive embodiment. The empirical part of the paper uses examples from Dutch and other languages, both on the lexical and the phraseological level. It turns out that most figurative uses of the words for ‘hand’ are of the metonymic type. Special attention is given to the target domain of numerals. Finally, it is shown that laterality plays a role: The right hand is used in figurative expressions with a positive connotation, whereas the left hand leads to expressions with a negative connotation.
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