The Cultural Concepts of zdraví (health) and nemoc (illness) in Czech Phraseology Cover Image

The Cultural Concepts of zdraví (health) and nemoc (illness) in Czech Phraseology
The Cultural Concepts of zdraví (health) and nemoc (illness) in Czech Phraseology

Author(s): Anna Christou, Karolína Táborská
Subject(s): Western Slavic Languages, Health and medicine and law, Phraseology
Published by: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Sklodowskiej
Keywords: ethnolinguistics; linguistic and cultural worldview; values; phraseology; conceptual metaphor; health; illness;

Summary/Abstract: In this study, we aim to describe how the cultural concepts of zdraví (health) and its antithesis nemoc (illness) are conceptualised in Czech phraseology. We focus on the opposition between health and illness, which is one of the constitutive semantic oppositions of traditional Czech linguistic worldview. From the theoretical and methodological perspective, this paper is partly couched within the framework of modern ethnolinguistics and the concept of the linguistic worldview, and partly within cognitive linguistics, especially with regard to the theory of conceptual metaphor. It appears that in Czech linguistic worldview, health is one of the most significant existential values. Its significance becomes apparent mainly against the backdrop of illness, which is located at the antipole of health as its anti-value. The notions of health and illness appear in the human cognitive system as opposites, representing contradicting values. In Czech linguistic worldview, the opposition of health and illness is significantly tied with other semantic oppositions, especially life and death, young and old, beauty and ugliness, movement and immobility, strong and weak, whole and incomplete, colourful and colourless, etc. Health is always conceptualised via its preferred attributes (physical strength, resilience, wholeness, movement, youth, beauty, colourfulness), while illness is viewed through opposite attributes (physical weakness, old age, immobility, incompleteness, unattractiveness, dullness, death). In Czech idioms, a healthy person is compared to resilient products of nature (mighty trees with hard, durable wood, good roots and cores, as well as strong, agile, quick-moving animals, beautiful unimpaired crops, red flowers, etc.).

  • Issue Year: 34/2022
  • Issue No: 34
  • Page Range: 303-318
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English