Kewa figures of speech

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In this paper I describe how the Kewa people use figures of speech, particularly idioms and metaphors, often coding them as implied information or implicatures in their “veiled” or “hidden” language. In presenting this work, I have benefitted from the theoretical framework of cognitive linguistics (Lakoff 1987; Lakoff and Johnson 1980; Lakoff and Turner 1989; Kövecses 2000; 2002, 2006; as well as the etic and emic insights of Pike 1967; 1982). I demonstrate how Kewa speakers code their figures of speech in aphorisms or maxims, often signaling warnings and instructions. The study demonstrates that cultural codes, situated pragmatically, are foundational in interpreting the Kewa figures of speech and confirms that “culture and cognition are inextricably fused” (Kövecses 2006: 271).


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