The present article suggests that the figurative meanings of English phrasal verbs can be interpreted by means of image schemas. It is argued that image schemas reflect bodily experiences which constitute configurations of spatial perception. The article classifies image schemas and draws examples from English phrasal verbs. The article discusses how the semantics of the particle (which prototypically denotes space and motion) encourages various types of image schemas which can be extended into more abstract and metaphoric readings. The article investigates how English phrasal verbs of the form take plus particles encourage the image schemas of containment, the journey and its component parts, goal, path, proximity-distance, linkage-separation, front-back orientation, part-whole relationship and linear order. The article also argues for image schematic transformations.
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