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his extended essay-lexicon celebrates the creative confusion of the world's languages as they interact in overheard "echoic" words, muddled popular etymologies, & the misunderstandings among cultures. This book examines the amazing & amusing "category mistakes" of metaphor. Why are whitecapped waves "white horses" in English, "sheep" in French, & "little goats" in Spanish? What is the connection between birds nests, baskets, & friendship? Eggs & eyes? Focuses on a single location to show how multiple meanings arose from the mixed & immemorial activities of peasant life. Shows ancient patterns of perception & prejudice at work as well as the resourceful power of the mind to reap a rich crop of meaning from a small seedcorn of words.
"This book subscribes to what has been called the 'strong metaphor' theory whereby metaphor, so often treated as the product of 'fancy,' is considered to be at the psychological deep core of perception. ...[M]etaphors not only arise out of perception but are formative of it."