The paper addresses the employment of body part nouns in the creation of phraseological expressions of some European languages, a topic at the crossroads of language, cognition and culture. In particular, the contrastive analysis explores the common linguistic representation of meanings through body part metaphorical expressions in Italian, French, Spanish and English. While several efforts to gauge the existence of a “European linguistic type” (cf. Haspelmath, 2001) have been largely devoted to the study of grammatical structures, a systematic account of the lexical component of the major European languages has not been attempted yet. Among the lexical units, phraseological expressions (e.g. compounds, multiword units, idiomatic expressions, as well as light verb and light noun constructions) represent a relevant ground to inquire into, since they are the most transparent and authentic vehicle of common ideas and experiences gradually rooted in European communicative realities.
Ganfi, V., Piunno, V., Mereu, L. (In corso di stampa). Body part metaphors in lexical and phraseological constructions. A comparative survey of Italian, Spanish, French and English. LANGUAGES IN CONTRAST, 22(2).