“Journey, Rest, Gate and Garment”: A Cross-cultural Cognitive Analysis of Metaphors Used in Breaking News of Death

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Hameed Tunde Asiru
Aminu Galadima Batagarawa


How is death conceptualized in Hausa and Yoruba languages? Are there any linguistic similarities or differences in the ways they break news of death? This paper notes that language is not carelessly used to establish interactional and transactional functions among interactants; rather it is creatively used depending on the context of usage. One such context of usage that involves more caution and wisdom is breaking news of death to the deceased loved ones. This particular context is mostly achieved through the use of some metaphors and idiomatic expressions to present, euphemistically, unpleasant news about the death of a person. There is no contrastive research effort, at present, which has examined conceptualization of death in Hausa and Yoruba languages for possible similarities and differences. In this paper, therefore, an attempt was made to conceptualize death as a domain through the cognitive, cultural and religious windows that are available in these native Nigerian languages. In the course of the investigation, the paper argues that even though metaphors are ubiquitous in every community and are presented in different ways in breaking news of the departed friends and enemies, there abound areas of metaphoric convergence and divergence in the description of death. The convergent and divergent points are results of the universality in the conceptualization of aspects of human body/experience such as death. In particular, we argued, that the similarities in the identified four source domains (journey, rest, garment and gate) and their differences are conditioned by cultural or religious constructs and contacts, and the linguistic variance between the two languages. Finally, the paper lends credence to the claim that primary metaphors are shared by all human languages.

Cognitive Metaphor Theory, Yoruba and Hausa languages, metaphorical expressions

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How to Cite
Asiru, H., & Batagarawa, A. (2019). “Journey, Rest, Gate and Garment”: A Cross-cultural Cognitive Analysis of Metaphors Used in Breaking News of Death. Asian Research Journal of Arts & Social Sciences, 8(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.9734/ARJASS/2019/43413
Original Research Article