Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Metaphoric Concept of XORDAN 'To Eat' in Persian

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Metaphoric Concept of XORDAN 'To Eat' in Persian

Article excerpt

Abstract

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the cognitive-semantic content of xordan in Persian, and whether it demarcates similar conceptual domain as the English verb 'to eat'. The verbs related to the bodily experience of eating or consuming food is the source of metaphorical conceptualizations and mappings in various semantic domains rooted in universal experiential realities. Cross linguistic, cross cultural studies have reported both commonalities and variations in the conceptualization of the act of eating. Adopting the basic tenets of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory, proposed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980, 1999), this study is an attempt to delve into the conceptual system of Persian in order to explore its specific cultural embodiment, and socio-cultural influences in the use of metaphorical concepts of xordan. With a focus on the basic syntax and semantic properties of xordan, this study employs a lexical structure, i.e. the radial category in a chaining model to illustrate the complexities of metaphorical extensions of eating in Persian. Our observations reveal that the metaphorical expressions of the verb of xordan 'to eat' occur extensively in Persian, manifesting the Persians' unique way of thinking and mind. These particular em-minded cultural models have widely left their traces in the Persians' belief systems, the effects therefore, have been extended into Persian metaphoric language and cognitive conceptualizations.

Keywords: cross-cultural, conceptualization, mapping, embodiment, radial category

1. Introduction

Eating is a routine, vital activity fundamental to human beings' existence; however, do all humans conceptualize such event, the physical activity of bodily intake of a substance, in the same manner? Cross linguistic, cross cultural studies have reported both commonalities and variations in the conceptualization of eating activity. While a language as English stresses on the eating verbs primarily based on the manner of consuming objects, some other languages seem to distinguish them according to the particular characteristics of the consumed objects (Newman, 2009; Rice, 2009; Wierzbicka, 2009).The type of the foodstuffs consumed and the way of their consumption in the process of ingestion seem to be the most notable parameters to lead people to differentiate their eating activities. The disparities within these dimensions are to a great extent the result of native speakers' salient environment and cultural practices in everyday life, i.e. as Khajeh and Imran (2012, p. 72) point out, "The motives for metaphorical disparity are many, but the most essential one comes from the fact that in all languages, innumerable cultural units exist to the metaphor users, each consisting of a huge amount of semantic components to shed light on various aspects of social life. The eventually chosen cultural unit as a metaphorical vehicle for a specific life situation in a particular language community is arbitrarily decided and therefore unpredictable." Moreover, the significant life-sustaining role of eating activity can be a strong implication for its widespread semantic extension and subsequently emerging various figurative metaphorical expressions across languages. Furthermore, it would not be far from truth that some languages with similar syntactic rules may have little commonalities in their semantic structure, and those with similar semantics may be variant in their syntax. It is expected that intra-language comparative studies, e.g. Persian and English, would yield notable insights into highlighting possible universal and/or cultural developments of such processes.

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the cognitive-semantic content of eating concept in Persian, if the concept of verb xordan 'to eat' in Persian demarcates similar conceptual domain as English verb 'to eat'. Our endeavor, therefore, is to investigate the dynamics of Persian light verb xordan, looking for the patterns of meaning extensions through describing the mechanism of its construction, categorization, and understanding across cognitive semantic domain which in turn sheds light on the fundamental attributes of the human conceptual system. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.