A Semantic Analysis of Gikuyu Metonymy: a Frame Semantics Approach
This thesis investigates conceptual metonymy in Gĩkũyũ language within the Fillmore’s frame semantic theory. Basically metonymy is a figure of speech where a concept or a thing is referred to by the label of something closely related to that concept or thing. Metonymy stands as an essential tool with which people comprehend their world and enhance their language. Metonymy is a mode of reasoning applied extensively within people’s everyday life. This study is based on three objectives, which are: to classify Gĩkũyũ metonymy, to establish whether Gĩkũyũ metonymy is pervasive, and to ascertain whether Gĩkũyũ metonymic expressions are systematic. The classification of the data was based on the interpretation of Whole and Part as proposed by Radden and Kovecses (1999) and Kovecses and Radden (1998) typology of ICMs, frames or domains. The analysis of the Gĩkũyũ metonymy illustrate that metonymy is a cognitive means by which Gĩkũyũ speakers conceptualize their environment. It is a ubiquitous way of thinking used widely by the Gĩkũyũ language speakers as their way of life. The Gĩkũyũ language speakers use natural objects in their environment and the human body parts as the vehicles to comprehend the concepts of other domains. Some of the metonymies are well-entrenched in the language that they are barely noticeable. The classification of the Gĩkũyũ metonymy has shown possibility of having marginal occurrences of the metonymic sub-frames resulting to ambiguity in the borders between the sub-frames. The description of the various Gĩkũyũ metonymic frames and sub-frames and their taxonomies occur in turn. The findings also reveal that Gĩkũyũ metonymic concepts are systematic depending on the interaction of the society with its physical environment. The metonymic concepts are structured and manifest in determinable relationships. The Gĩkũyũ metonyms involve only one conceptual domain, as the label of one entity is made use of to refer to another entity that is associated to it either by being copresent or successive. The target concept and the contributing concept are mostly related to each other in conceptual clusters referred to as frames.
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