To make a mountain out of a molehill : A comparative study of the metonymical and metaphorical structures of three semantically identical, but lexically different, idioms in English, Swedish and German

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för språkstudier

Abstract: This study revolves around the different underlying metaphorical or metonymical structures of three specific idioms, one English, one Swedish and one German, but with equivalent semantics. The structure of the source and target domains was analysed, as well as the mapping from source to target. The lexical features and the cognitive concepts involved were analysed as well. The method used for this study was an analysis based on cognitive linguistics and conceptual metaphor theory. The result shows a structure of conceptual metaphor within the English and German idioms: making a small entity into a big entity is exaggeration. The Swedish idiom consists of a conceptual metaphor but with a metonymic structure: the part for the whole is exaggeration. The result also suggests a difference in meaning of the definitions of the idioms, indicating that the form of exaggeration varies depending on which idiom is used. 

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