Centrum för kognitiv semiotik (CCS)

Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna | Lunds universitet

CCS mini-symposium - Mapping the body across cultures: shared patterns and variations of body representation

Friday 4 May, 13-16; H140 (Please note changed place and time)

13:15 – 14:30 Shared patterns and variations of body representation in French, Indonesian, and Japanese(Simon Devylder, Lund University, Misuzu Shimotori, Göteborg University, Poppy Siahaan, Köln University, Soichi Kozai, Kansai Gaïdaï University & Christoph Bracks, Köln University)


The human body is a universally shared domain of experience, yet the way it is segmented into parts greatly varies across languages and cultures of the world. To further understand the architecture of the human body into parts across the variety of the world languages and cultures we ran two studies with a total of 120 speakers of three typologically unrelated languages (French, Indonesian, and Japanese). Results show interesting lexical, syntactic, and non-linguistic shared pattern and variations across the three studied languages. These two studies have broader theoretical and methodological implications in the study of linguistic and non-linguistic meaning and lead us to ask important questions about ways to investigate and interpret the unsystematic symmetry of language and cognition.


14:30 – 15:10 Body part metaphors in Indonesian, English, and German (Poppy Siahaan, Köln University)


This paper is a comparative study of body part terms used as source domains in Indonesian, English, and German metaphors. In Indonesian, hati 'liver' is ubiquitous in the descriptions of feelings and thoughts. It is here argued that this mapping is motivated by the cultural model for hati, which is regarded as the seat of life, and of the living soul, as evidenced in the old rituals of liver divination, for instance. The concept of the ‘living soul’ in Indonesia is significantly different for the Western body and soul dichotomy, and it is argued that the distinct cultural models motivate distinct metaphorical mappings. I support this point with further comparative analysis of kepala/Kopf/head and mata/Auge/eye used as source domains for distinct target domains in Indonesian, German, and English.


15:10 – 16:00 The embodied motivations for deep and high emotion metaphors in Japanese and Swedish(Misuzu Shimotori, Göteborg University)


The present research focuses on speaker’s viewpoint when using perception adjectives for vertical dimension, deep and high. In which viewpoint do speakers stand when they say deep sorrow? Do people simulate deep object, such as a hole taking the viewpoint from underneath, or from above of object? I designed free word-association tests to elicit data from native speakers of Japanese and Swedish. The results suggest that emotional responses emerged when seeing the picture with more unusual viewpoint, namely the viewpoint from the bottom of a deep hole, and the viewpoint from the top of high building. I propose that the difference in viewpoint suggests speaker’s use of more memorable experiences to produce metaphorical expressions.