The Meaning Extensions of Human Body Part Terms in Thai Idioms

  •  Nuntana Wongthai    


This paper presents the linguistics evidence from Thai idioms in support of the claim that our bodily experienceplays a prominent role in the meaning construction. The data was collected from 29 Thai idiom books. Theanalysis is primarily based on metaphor, metonymy and chained metonymies in cognitive semantic approach.The data show that metaphor and metonymy are the motivating forces behind the semantic extension in the bodypart terms in Thai. However, most of the meaning extension of body part terms is found via metonymy. This factsupports the claim that metonymy is a more fundamental cognitive phenomena than metaphor. The mostextended meaning found in the data is person. The body part term that its meaning is extended most is hand. Thisstudy also is a linguistic manifestation of Thai culture.

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