Publication details [#15453]

Zhang, Weiwei, Dirk Speelman and Dirk Geeraerts. 2015. Cross-linguistic variation in metonymies for PERSON: A Chinese-English contrastive study. Review of Cognitive Linguistics 13 (1) : 220–256.
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This paper investigates metonymies for person in Chinese and English in the framework of Cognitive Linguistics with an emphasis on cross-linguistic variation. Our central goal is to highlight the important role of cultural elements on the use of metonymy. Three main types of cross-linguistic variation were found at different degrees of granularities of metonymies: variation in metonymic patterns for the general target category person, variation in metonymic patterns for a specific kind of person, and variation in metonymic sources in a specific pattern. The variation was examined against its cultural background, and we conclude that some cross-linguistic differences are to a large extent rooted in culturally relevant factors. The findings suggest that although bodily experience as the general cognitive basis for metonymic pattern/source selection implies the universality of metonymies across different languages, cultural elements contribute to the language-specific preferences for metonymies of a given target.