The Polysemy of Body Part Terms in Hausa within the Frame of Image Schemas

Tijjani Shehu Almajir


Body part-terms have been identified as a productive source of figurative lexical meanings as well as grammatical meanings (Heine, et al. 1991). The paper adopts descriptive lexical semantics as a model of approach. This paves the way to examine the relationships that exist between different interpretations of words. Virtually, every language exhibits rich set of semantic extensions of body part-terms, highlighting the importance of the human body for lexical and grammatical structure (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980). Most meaning extensions of body part-terms can be shown to have a clear motivation through either metaphor or metonymy, as has been argued in many studies before (Allan, 1995). The paper provides a rich inventory of body part-terms in Hausa and interprets the variety of their meanings in terms of conceptualization patterns.

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