[Not in series 149] 2009
► pp. 111–133
This paper presents evidence from Chinese in support of the claim that our bodily experience plays a prominent role in the emergence of linguistic meaning. It focuses on one particular body-part term for “hand” as it is used in Chinese to denote more abstract concepts via metaphor and metonymy. It also looks at some English data for the purpose of comparison. The study demonstrates that the Chinese linguistic expressions discussed are formed via metaphor and metonymy grounded in our immediate bodily experiences with hands, and that linguistic meaning can be said to be the extension of bodily experiences through human imagination structured by metaphor and metonymy. This study, therefore, supports the claim that our living body has served as a semantic template in the evolution of our language and thought.