The MANNER FOR ACTIVITY metonymy across domains and languagesReport as inadecuate

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Linguistics, Vol.4 No.1 September 2003. -

Since both metonymy and metaphor are, in the framework of cognitive

linguistics, taken to be basic and universally attested processes that help

shape conceptual structures and linguistic expressions, the tacit assumption

has been that most high-level generalizations that have been

established for English or any other language that happened to provide

the empirical confirmation of theoretical claims should largely hold for

other languages as well, discounting of course such language-specific

factors as the availability of certain lexical items, etc. In other words,

one might expect that similar arrays of metonymically motivated constructions

will be found to be fairly frequent across languages. However,

as Lakoff 1987 warns, it does not follow that various languages

must make use of a particular metonymy in the same way, and in the

same contexts. What is more, this universalist underpinning of cognitive

research into metonymy may, if unwarranted, i.e. if not supported

by cross-linguistic evidence e.g. typological and contrastive, bring

with it a danger of oversimplification and of overemphasizing similarities

between languages and thus perhaps even preclude us from gaining

some further valuable insights into the nature of the phenomenon. In

Brdar and Brdar-Szabó 2003, it is shown that Croatian and Hungarian,

unlike English, are reluctant to make use of the MANNER FOR ACTIVITY metonymy in the domain of linguistic action. In order to

check whether the observed cross-linguistic differences are merely incidental,

due perhaps to some idiosyncratic fact of Croatian and Hungarian,

the comparison is extended i by systematically examining the

same general type of metonymy in a number of different, more or less

related domains e.g. cognitive activity, physical activity, etc., and ii

by adding data from some other Germanic and Slavic languages. Finding

some degree of consistency in the use or non-use of this metonymy

across domains and languages should contribute towards formulating

the set of constraints at work in this area, as well as towards refining

the existing typologies of metonymies.

predicational metonymy; typology of metonymies; active zone; ICM; linguistic action; scenario; frame; metaphor

Author: Rita Brdar-Szabó - ; Eötvös Loránd University Mario Brdar - ; Faculty of Philosophy, University of Osijek



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