Figuration, lexis and cultural resonance: A corpus based study of Malay

Jonathan Charteris-Black

Abstract

This paper is a corpus based study of the cultural meaning of figuration in the Malay lexicon. Initially, polysemy is examined for evidence of figurative conceptualisation at the single word level for two body part terms, mata ‘the eye’ and kaki ‘the foot /leg’. Compound forms are then examined to identify the extent to which similar conceptualisations are found. Finally, figurative phraseological units (simpulan bahasd) are examined for figurative conceptualisations. We consider the relationship between figurative meaning at the phraseological and lexical levels. The identification of figurative language is made with reference to dictionaries and its saliency is gauged with reference to a corpus of contemporary Malay.

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