Publication details [#3410]

Charteris-Black, Jonathan. 2003. Speaking with forked tongue: A comparative study of metaphor and metonymy in English and Malay phraseology. Metaphor and Symbol 18 (4) : 289–310. 22 pp.
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Article in journal
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In this article, I employ a cognitive semantic approach to compare figurative uses of 3 oral body parts ("mouth," "lip," and "tongue") in English and Malay phraseology to establish whether either language shows an orientation toward metaphor or metonymy. The main finding is that where figurative language is being employed for the similar discourse function of offering an evaluation, though each language shows evidence of both figures-as well as blends between them-English has a tendency toward metonymy whereas Malay has a tendency toward metaphor. This is explained with reference to cultural differences in attitude toward facial expressions and in stylistic preferences; in English for hyperbole and in Malay for euphemism. This is because of cultural pressures toward the more encrypted style of metaphor in Malay. A better knowledge of the linguistic characteristics of figurative phrases provides a rich source of insight into cultural differences.