The Cognitive Motivation for the Use of Metonymy in Kuria and Iraqw Personal Names

Nicholous Asheli


It has been commonly held that metonymy is an aspect of literary works; acting as figures of speech. There are scholars who consider metonymy to be a technique that is employed by someone experienced in literary works. In Cognitive Linguistics, however, metonymy is considered to be part of human cognition. That means people use metonymy without any effort because it is part of the mental function. They use it even without being aware that they are using it. This paper attempts to demonstrate the cognitive motivation for the prevalent use of metonymy in Kuria and Iraqw personal names. It is argued, in the paper, that common use of metonymy in the two languages’ personal names demonstrates coincidental relationship between birth and place, circumstance and time. It is concluded that personal names in the two languages studied are bestowed based on some cognitive principles which name-givers may not be aware of but they use them because such principles are part of their cognition. It is also concluded that metonymy is as well governed by construal operations which also have a cognitive basis.

Key words: metonymy, personal names, cognition, cognitive linguistics

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