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Hands and manipulations in the grammar and cognitive systems of English

Abstract : This study treats the presence of physical and symbolical hands in the grammar and the conceptual structures of English. The role of the hands in the metonymical and metaphorical conceptualization of more or less abstract notions will be highlighted. More generally, this raises the question as to what the role of the hands (physical and symbolical) is in the structures of the English language and in thought. To answer this question, a quantitative study of mostly the written British National Corpus (BNC), has been made, in which polysemous terms relating to body parts and body part movements, have been searched and classified according to their literal, metonymic, and metaphorical uses. This research study will allow for the exploration of the hypothesis of the Idealized Body of Cognition (Lapaire 2008), which works on abstract materials and spaces with imaginary hands. It will also allow for an exploration of the way conceptualization of the body works by “decomposing” its meaning. The consequences such conceptualized uses of the body may have in grammar will also be explored. Grammaticalization (Traugott 2000) will show how body parts and their prototypical activities may be integrated in grammatical systems. This latter are not autonomous, inscribing in their forms the physico-cultural experience of the environment.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 21, 2012 - 1:37:16 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00734308, version 1


Cécile Billioti de Gage. Hands and manipulations in the grammar and cognitive systems of English. Linguistics. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012BOR30008⟩. ⟨tel-00734308⟩



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