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The origin of the idiomatic expressions that involve animals names

Grant number: 11/19153-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2011
Effective date (End): November 30, 2012
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Portuguese Language
Principal researcher:Mário Eduardo Viaro
Grantee:Amanda de Lima Santana
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The Etymology is an area of linguistic studies without reliable works. The research in this area is rich, however there are, in the available works, many fanciful solutions, motivated by the desire to uncover the origins of certain obscure words, especially expressions. In this kind of research, less scientific, there are explanations without the necessary documental basement. Said Ali had already said that "a par das numerosas palavras de procedência indiscutível, possui a nossa língua muitas outras de origem duvidosa ou desconhecida, as quais atraem a viva atenção dos filólogos pela natural curiosidade humana de averiguar a origem das cousas" (1953 [2006 ]³: 247). One of these unknown subjects, for example, are idiomatic expressions, which also require a study of popular culture and due to these expressions, they can only have their origin uncovered when the cultural factors from the time when they were originated are analyzed. In other words, we can say that "os estudos filológicos baseados na observação da cultura popular, material e espiritual, [revelam-se] extraordinariamente fecundos" (BOLÉO 1943: 57). Therefore the object studied in this research will be the idiomatic expressions, particularly those that contain mentions of animals, and as the total number of them is high, the study of all of them in a single research would be infeasible.