RELEVANCY IN CONTEXT: A PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF METAPHORS USED IN PUNJABI PROVERBS
Figurative language is widely used in proverbs which can be decoded by taking context into account. Speakers encode their implied message through the use of metaphors in proverbs and idiomatic expressions. Punjabi proverbs form a part of Punjabi folk literature, which is the reflection of their culture. A whole spectrum of metaphors has been observed in the use of Punjabi proverbs. The present research aims to explore the metaphorical connotations and the cognitive effect achieved through cognitive effort by the hearers, taking context into account. The qualitative research method has been deployed to study randomly selected 25 Punjabi proverbs. It employed Relevance Theory (Sperber &Wilson, 1986; revised 1995) as its framework and used inferential mechanisms such as presumption of optimal relevance to conducting metaphoric analysis of Punjabi proverbs. The proverbs have been analyzed at the literal, contextual, semantic and pragmatic level. The analysis shows that metaphors are essential features in encoding non-literal message in Punjabi proverbs and the hearers decode the non-literal message through contextual interpretation of metaphors. This study will be of great significance to the students of pragmatics and Punjabi language and literature as it is a seminal work of its kind in Punjabi language.