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'What a kitty!': Women’s physical appearance and animal metaphors in Montenegro

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'What a kitty!': Women’s physical appearance and animal metaphors in Montenegro

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Abstract

Animals present a common source of metaphors conceptualising humanity, and, consequently, women. The aim of this paper is to explore how women's physical appearance is conceptualised through animal metaphors in Montenegrin webpages (the. me domain). We find that women's looks are most often likened to those of a cat (kitten, kitty), fish, mare, snake, tigress, and duck. The choice of an animal that a woman is compared to and the associated characteristics reflect entrenched cultural views which prioritise women's physical appearance. By comparing our results to those from the scholarly literature, we also conclude that the choice of some metaphors may be culturally specific to Montenegro and/or perhaps the wider Western Balkan region.

Keywords: conceptual metaphor, animal metaphors, discourse, gender and language, Montenegro

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