Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2214-3157
  • E-ISSN: 2214-3165
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This case study examines variation in idiomatic fixed expressions (FEs) in British and West African varieties of English. Using a corpus of newspapers containing FEs with the source domain monkey, I contrast those expressions shared by both varieties — the Common Core — with those found only in the African sources. In so doing, I seek to illuminate to what extent uniquely African cultural influences have affected idiomatic language use in these ‘New Englishes’ beyond the mere adoption of British expressions. The corpus contains 24 FEs, of which 8 belong to the Common Core and 16 classify as potentially new African ones. The analysis of the FEs reveals that West African speakers make use of a much broader spectrum of main meaning foci (Kövecses 2010) when instantiating the human behavior is monkey behavior metaphor than do their British counterparts. This wider (Black 1954) can be linked to the African natural environment on the one hand and to broader cultural influences on the other, including power and corruption issues as well as African models of community and kinship (Wolf & Polzenhagen 2009). On a more global level, this paper lends evidence to the importance of (Sharifian 2011) as a further dimension of variation in the study of World Englishes.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Africa; animal metaphors; cognition; fixed expressions; idioms; metaphor; proverbs; World Englishes
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