The apocalypse happens when the feet take the position of the head

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Terms for the body parts head and feet appear in various conceptual metonymies and metaphors in Turkish. This chapter investigates the role of these body parts in the embodied conceptualization of social stratification in Turkish, exploiting the image schema of verticality (up-down). The head (up) profiles the cultural metonymies head for order, head for ruler, head for talent. The foot (down) profiles conceptual metaphors such as less is down, low status is down, and being subject to control or force is down. As a consequence of these metaphoric and metonymic folk models, ‘head’ most often implies positive cultural values whereas ‘foot’ is evaluated negatively. Cases are analyzed in which terms for ‘head’ and ‘feet’ combine in a number of metonymies and metaphors. In such expressions, the position of body parts on the verticality scale is used to conceptualize contrasts in social stratification.


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