The offensiveness of animal metaphors
A relevance-theoretic view
Abstract: The paper examines how animal metaphors are communicated and understood, considering that such metaphors have been known since Antiquity and are universally common. First, uses of animal metaphors are described, focusing on their use as insults or terms of abuse. It seems that the source of these metaphors most often include animals’ appearance, behaviour, habitat, cultural and economic utility as well as their intelligence and character. Such metaphors are usually directed at a person’s physical appearance, sexual organs, sexual behaviour or human mental and psychological properties. The range of meanings triggered by these metaphors has been described ...