The semantic evolution of 'eat'-expressions: Ways and byways

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The act of consuming food occupies a central place in our day-to-day lives and the experiential reality associated with it serves as a rich source for a variety of metaphorical extensions across languages. In this paper we focus on two Indo-Aryan languages (Hindi-Urdu and Marathi) and demonstrate how various subcomponents of the basic action of eating may be extended to express relatively abstract events, states, and experiences. We approach the explication of the polysemy network of EAT in Hindi-Urdu and Marathi from two complementary perspectives: (1) a cognitive perspective and (2) a lexical perspective. This bilateral approach allows us to explore both the general (aka “universal”) and the particular (historical, language-specific) factors underlying the extended uses of the verb EAT.


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