The embodiment of life-form concepts, e.g., human bodily experiences (physical senses like vision, taste; psychological reactions like emotions), animal names and plant names are used widely in languages. For example, in Mandarin ying1 wu3 xue2 she2 鸚鵡 ‘parrot-learn-tongue; to repeat the words of others; to parrot’ and in German Blümchenkaffee ‘litter flower-coffee; weak coffee’. The former encodes the embodied animal vehicle ying1 wu3 “parrot” and body-part vehicle she2 “tongue” to blame a social behavior ‘imitating’ and the latter conveys the plant vehicle “flower” to criticize a weak service of coffee in a social activity. Such expressions involve with various social interactions and relations.

The languages that will be compared in this project are mainly Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese Southern Min, Dutch, German, and English. The comparison between different languages will explore cognitive semantic and pragmatic attributes of the life-form expressions, explain the modes of thinking and life perspectives of different groups of people.