Literal and metaphorical usages of Babanki EAT and DRINK verbs - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Afrika und Übersee Year : 2021

Literal and metaphorical usages of Babanki EAT and DRINK verbs

Roland Kiessling


In Babanki, a Grassfields Bantu language of North-West Cameroon, two of the numerous consumption verbs, namely the generic verbs ʒɨ́ ‘eat’ and ɲʉ́ ‘drink’, constitute a major source of metaphorical extensions outside the domain of ingestion. Setting out from a characterisation of the basic meanings of these two lexical items as they emerge from their paradigmatic relations within the semantic field of alimentation processes, this paper explores the figurative usages of the two verbs and their underlying semantic motivations. Semantic extensions that radiate from eat can be subsumed under two closely related structural metaphors, i.e. APPROPRIATION OF RESOURCES IS EATING and WINNING IS EATING. The first metaphor construes the acquisition and exploitation of non-food items such as material possession as eating, while the second metaphor casts the acquisition of immaterial advantage in the mould of eating. Both metaphors have further entailments, i.e. the derivation of pleasure from consumption of resources, the depletion of resources via consumption and the deprivation of a third party from access to these resources. Semantic extensions that radiate from drink can be accounted for in two structural metaphors, i.e. INHALATION IS DRINKING and ABSORPTION IS DRINKING. Remarkably, some metaphorical extensions of consumption verbs attested in other African languages, such as extensions of EAT for sexual intercourse and for killing, and the extensions of DRINK for undergoing trouble and enduring painful experiences are absent in Babanki.
Fichier principal
Vignette du fichier
Akumbu & Kiessling_Eat and Drink verbs in Babanki_94.pdf (466.63 Ko) Télécharger le fichier
Origin : Publisher files allowed on an open archive

Dates and versions

hal-03689200 , version 1 (07-06-2022)



Pius W. Akumbu, Roland Kiessling. Literal and metaphorical usages of Babanki EAT and DRINK verbs. Afrika und Übersee, 2021, 94, pp.1-38. ⟨10.15460/auue.2021.94.1.248⟩. ⟨hal-03689200⟩


35 View
15 Download



Gmail Facebook Twitter LinkedIn More