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2005 | 40 | 367-384

Article title

Conceptualizing of Fear in the Croatian Language

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Fear, being one of the basic and primordial states of the psyche, confirmed by numerous expressions traditionally lasting in particular languages. The authoresses analyse the word connections and collocations existing in the Croatian language - in particular those that express fear. One of the most basic metaphors is FEAR IS AILMENT (ILLNESS), that is often accompanied by the metonymic identification of symptoms of fear, for example: 'biti blijed' (to be pale), 'oduzimati nekome dah' (to take someone's breath away), 'imati pune gace' (to hale pants full of ...), 'hladan znoj probija nekoga' (sweating with cold sweat) and so on. Further to symptoms, there are also other analogies between fear and the ailment: (strah se siri, prenosi - fear spreads, transfers), and also some attempts are made to fight them (izlijeciti strah - to cure fear), and in extreme case fear may lead to death (umrijeti od straha - to die of fear'). In the Croatian language, a considerable part of the word collocations base upon the metaphor of THE FEAR IS A LIVING CREATURE, which enables to speak about feelings and sensations from the group of fear as abort categories of ideas or notions that in their literal meaning refer to the living things (strah se rodi, hrani, probudi - the fear is born, the fear leeds on something, or wakes). It is a compound metaphor which includes some sub-metaphors FEAR IS A HUMAN and FEAR IS AN ANIMAL (strah se ugnijezdio - fear has inhabited a nest). Within the sphere of the metaphor FEAR IS A HUMAN rest other submetaphors of a more detailed nature: FEAR IS AN ENEMY (boriti se sa strahom -to fight (against) fear; pobijediti strah - overcome fear) and FEAR IS THE RULER (strah vlada - fear governs; strah kraljuje - fear rules). Most of the metaphors interacts with the spatial metaphors like with the following one: FEAR IS AN OBJECT (proizvoditi strah - to produce fear; prikriti strah - cover up one's fear), FEAR IS WATER (preplavljen strahom - flooded by fear; tonuti u strahu - to drown down in fear), A HUMAN BEING IS A CONTAINER TO HOLD FEAR IN (uliti nekome strah u kosti - to pour fear into someone's bones; netko je pun straha - someone is full of/filled up with fear) and FEAR IS A VESSEL TO HOLD A MAN IN (drzati koga u strahu - to keep/hold one in fear; duboki strah - deep fear). Further, the spatial metaphors enable also conceptualization of a movement, which serves the purpose of expressing either the beginning or the end of feeling the sensation, for instance 'strah odlazi, dolazi (fear goes away and comes in). The presented metaphors of fear are only a part, although considerable one, of a picture of that sensation in the Croatian language.







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  • Z. Niemyska, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Slawistyki Zachodniej i Poludniowej, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland


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