Publication details [#8341]

Nissen, Uwe Kjær. 2007. Contrasting body parts: An analysis of 'mouth'-metaphors and metonymies in Danish, English and Spanish.
Publication type
Unpublished manuscript
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Odense, Denmark


My analysis intends to show that metaphorical and metonymical uses of mouth are, indeed, linked with mappings of mind and body and these mappings appear to be related directly to the constitution, shape and function of this body part, i.e. its sensori-motor capacities. For instance, in all three languages, the expression 'to close your mouth' (in Danish 'lukke munden' and in Spanish: 'cerrar la boca') means, figuratively, "to stop to speak" due to the metonymic relation between 'mouth' and 'speech'. The analysis is inspired by Pustejovsky's (1995) qualia roles, the data being divided into three main perspectives from which the semantic field of 'mouth' is envisaged: 1) the partitional, 2) the functional and, 3) the telic. Although the overall findings indicate similarities between the languages analysed, there are also some inter-linguistic divergences - a fact that might indicate a certain cultural specificity with regard to the conceptualizations of this semantic field. Finally, the overall analysis will be compared to a similar study that dealt with eye-metaphors and metonymies (see Nissen, 2006) in order to evaluate the general usefulness of this model of analysis and how these studies may contribute to a better understanding of embodiment and its specific manifestations in different cultures. (Uwe Kjær Nissen)