Publication details [#8277]

Nesi, Hilary. 1995. A modern bestiary: A contrastive study of the figurative meanings of animal terms. Letras 49 : 272–278. 7 pp.


This paper discusses the figurative meanings to the names of different animals in different cultures, and highlights some of the problems language learners and translators face when dealing with single-word conventional metaphor. Informants from thirty – eight geographical regions responded to a questionnaire inviting them to comment on the figurative use made of animal names in their cultures. Many common terms such as ‘cat’, ‘cow’ and ‘mouse’ were found to have a wide range of figurative meanings, and discussions with informants revealed that even advanced learners tend to think in terms of the connotations of their first culture when they encounter or use these words in a figurative sense in English. (Hilary Nesi)