The subject of this paper is the presentation of the analysis of details of various German phraseologisms containing the constituent Hand [hand]. It will be shown that a considerable improvement in clarity can be achieved by analyzing these phraseolgisms as belonging to a specific construction family. The analysis follows in its classification previous studies from the project “Linguistik des Körpers” [Linguistics of the Human Body]. The essential objectives of this project are:
identification of the semantic potential of the body and
analysis and description of the meaning of phraseologisms containing body part terms (so called somatisms).
As considered from a methodological point of view (II) would be the conditio sine qua non with regard to (I). The thesis is the following: Although phraseologisms – following Goldberg – are not absolutely predictable, the body part terms still allow the identification of a specific contribution to the phraseological meaning. To a certain extent the phraseological meaning turns out to be compositional as if moved along a metonymic guide.
Analysis of the meaning will be the main focus of this investigation. Meanings occur in daily use. The only way to get further knowledge about the meaning(s) of linguistic entities is by analyzing their (actual) use.