Mohammed Yakub


Metaphors generally, have been noted to be very significant in the interpretation and understanding of human discourse. Animal metaphors, especially in proverbs, have been widely used to portray certain behavioural traits related to human beings. This paper presents a cognitive-conceptual metaphorical analysis of animal proverbs in Nzema, a (Kwa) language of Ghana. The paper looks at the way certain animals are used in Nzema proverbs to depict various human experiences, behaviours and attributions; based on the socio-traditional values, beliefs and general worldview of the people of Nzema. Adopting the Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), I demonstrate the metaphorical ‘mapping’ across conceptual domains; where the animals represent the source domain through which other human experiences are conceptualised as target domain. The data were purposively sampled from both primary and secondary sources. Categorising and discussing the data under relevant thematic sub-headings, the paper finds that, both domestic and nondomestic animals including birds, flies, insects and reptiles are deployed in Nzema proverbs to advise people against undesirable attitudes like recalcitrance, procrastination, greed, and all sort of social vices. These creatures are also used through the proverbs to direct people towards positive behaviours; such as tolerance, forgiveness, patience, cooperation, obedience, kindness, faithfulness and hard work among others.


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Nzema, animal proverbs, conceptual metaphor, source domain, target domain

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