Sensory perception metaphors in sign languages

Zeshan, Ulrike orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8438-3701 and Palfreyman, Nick orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9095-4937 (2019) Sensory perception metaphors in sign languages. In: Perception Metaphors. John Benjamins Publishing, pp. 275-301. ISBN 9789027202000

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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/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.

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