Embodiment in Proverbs: Representation of the eye(s) in English, Swedish, and Japanese

University essay from Malmö universitet/Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (KS)

Abstract: This study will examine the representation and embodiment of the body part eye(s), in proverbs. The research is cross-linguistic as the proverbs analysed are in the languages English, Swedish, and Japanese. Information about the origins of proverbs, their expansion across the globe, their use in order to embellish everyday communication in all different types of languages, even those belonging to cultures not similar to the Western norm, will be discussed with references to sources based in the area of Paremiology. The study will also investigate cultural markers found in the proverbs and how the metaphoric interpretations of eye(s) are displayed through our bodily experiences. In order to analyse the representation of eye(s) in the proverbs, through metaphoric concepts, this study will employ Lakoff and Johnson’s conceptual metaphor theory. Categories which will accompany the conceptual metaphors are based on one of the Oxford English Dictionary’s definitions of ‘eye’. Thereafter, an analysis is conducted regarding eyes(s) in the example proverbs. The results of the analysis showed that there are quite a few similarities in all three languages. However, the western languages differ from the Japanese language in regards to how the proverbs are worded. Further, cultural markers could only be found in one example in the Japanese proverbs.

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