Compositional and embodied meanings of somatisms
The chapter focuses on the problem of meaning determination of German idioms that consist of at least two words and contain a body part term as a constituent. Such so-called “somatisms” make up a considerable part of the phrasemes in German and English. What do these terms in idiomatic somatisms designate? Addressing this question, we examine two controversial issues in current cognitive linguistic research: (i) Are the meanings of bodily expressions in somatisms arbitrary? (ii) To what extent are the meanings of somatisms and of their somatic constituents grounded in human bodily experience? By analyzing selected examples of phrasemes containing <i>Finger</i> on the basis of substantial corpus data, answers to these questions are provided.