Across languages, body parts are used as part of a metaphor, whether it is in an idiom or in a phrasal construction.

Do any know of any survey like academic paper that investigates the whys and hows of this phenomenon across different languages?

If not, can someone suggest papers that investigate this phenomena in a language?

1 Answer 1


Overall, Lakoff and Johnson's Philosophy in the Flesh is probably the place to start.

The basic concept is that the only thing that all humans have in common -- and therefore the only thing one can always count on humans understanding -- is the experience of having a human body.

Therefore, abstract and non-experiential stuff gets referred to in terms of the body, and its parts.
Whether it's actually related to the body or not.

A couple of examples:

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