The relevance of embodiment to lexical and collocational meaning

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This cognitive linguistic corpus-based study embraces Johnson&#8217;s (1992: 348) embodiment hypothesis to argue that metonymic and metaphorical extensions of the prototypical sense of Modern Greek <i>prosopo</i> are based on a cultural model of the self. It is also claimed that conceptual structure and cultural models interact equally in motivating different uses of <i>prosopo</i>, confirming the intimate connection between cultural experience and embodied behavior (Gibbs 1999: 146). Frequently occurring collocations of adjective + <i>prosopo</i> are shown to have developed meanings not directly relatable to either the semantics of <i>prosopo</i> or the semantics of the collocating adjectives, supporting Sinclair&#8217;s (1991) views on collocational meanings. It is suggested that the embodiment hypothesis is relevant not only to lexicalization and the expression of emotion, character, etc., but also to the emergence of abstract collocational meaning. Finally, the present work suggests the possibility of a methodological convergence of cognitive semantics, cultural models, lexical semantics, and corpus linguistics.


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