Chapter published in:Perception Metaphors
Edited by Laura J. Speed, Carolyn O'Meara, Lila San Roque and Asifa Majid
[Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research 19] 2019
► pp. 275–301
Sensory perception metaphors in sign languages
In this chapter, we explore perceptual metaphors across a convenience sample of data from 24 sign languages. To do this, the chapter uses the framework of Sign Language Typology, the systematic comparative study of grammatical/semantic domains across sign languages (Zeshan & Palfreyman, 2017). Sign languages differ from spoken languages due to iconic mapping, that is, the tendency for signs of perception to be articulated at or near the sense organs. This is the basis for two types of signs: those with double-stage metaphors have literal and metaphorical lexical meanings, while those with single-stage metaphors lack literal lexical meanings of perception and instead rely on sublexical iconicity. We cover cross-linguistic patterns of metaphorical extensions of meaning in these signs, and the grammaticalisation of a class of prefixes that are associated with sensory perception.
Keywords: sign languages, Sign Language Typology, sublexical iconicity, sense prefixes, grammaticalisation, re-metaphorisation
Published online: 21 February 2019
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