Publication details [#12844]

Davies, Eirlys E. and Abdelali Bentahila. 1989. Familiar and Less Familiar Metaphors: An analysis of interpretations in two languages. Language and Communication 9 (1) : 49–68. 20 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


This paper investigates familiar and less familiar metaphors in everyday speech and draws evidence from English and Arabic. In particular, the authors attempted to investigate the extent to which familiar metaphors could be uniformly interpreted in contrast to less familiar ones. Participants were asked to write lists of all the animal names they could possibly use in order to describe a person. The results illustrated both similarities and differences between the two languages. For example, in both English and Arabic a fox was used for the description of a cunning person. On the contrary, a chicken was used for describing someone coward in English and a pretty child in Arabic. Lastly, it was shown that the factor of familiarity is strongly related with cultural specificity.