The eyes for sight and mind

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This is a study of metonymic and metaphoric expressions containing body-part terms for the eye(s) in Chinese. It also discusses similar expressions in English in order to provide a cross-linguistic perspective. It is found that Chinese and English share the conceptual metonymy perceptual organ stands for perception and the conceptual metaphors seeing is touching and thinking, knowing, or understanding is seeing. at the level of linguistic instantiation, however, there are both similarities and differences between the two languages. These similarities and differences take three major forms: (1) similar expressions with similar meanings, (2) similar expressions with different meanings, and (3) different expressions with similar meanings. It is shown that, despite the fact that imagination is involved in these metonymic and metaphoric expressions, they seem to have experiential roots in common bodily experiences as they arise from the interaction between culture and body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-686
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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