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The conceptual metaphor theory
Basic concepts and assumptions
By the use of metaphors the ability to understand and to express in language the experience of the world unbelievably increases.
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By the use of metaphors the ability to understand and to express in language the experience of the world unbelievably increases.It allows people to go beyond the immediate experience and to extend the language in an unlimited way.
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Conceptual metaphor
Understanding one conceptual domain in terms of another conceptual domain.
Conceptual metaphor
Understanding one conceptual domain in terms of another conceptual domain.A conceptual domain - any coherent organisation of experience.LIFE; LOVE; BEING SAD; LIGHT; ECONOMY; WAR, etc.
Conceptual metaphor
Is that thefoundationfor your theory?The theory needs moresupport.We need toconstructa strong argument for that.The theory willstand or fallon the strength of that argument.

Conceptual metaphor
Is that thefoundationfor your theory?The theory needs moresupport.We need toconstructa strong argument for that.The theory willstand or fallon the strength of that argument.
THEORIES ARE BUILDINGS
Conceptual metaphor
Is that thefoundationfor your theory?The theory needs moresupport.We need toconstructa strong argument for that.The theory willstand or fallon the strength of that argument.
THEORIES ARE BUILDINGSCONCEPTUAL DOMAIN (A) ISCONCEPTUAL DOMAIN (B)
Correspondences between domains
mappings
There is a set of systematiccorrespondencesormappingsbetween the source and the target.It means that constituent conceptual elements of the source correspond to constituent elements of the target.
ARGUMENT IS WAR
Your claims areindefensible.Heattacked every weakpoint in my argument.His criticisms wereright on target.I’ve neverwonan argument with him.If you use thatstrategy, he’llwipe you out.
TIME IS MONEY
You’rewastingmy time.This gadget willsaveyou hours.How do youspendyour time these days?That flat tirecostme an hour.You don’tuseyour timeprofitably.
LIFE IS A JOURNEY
He’s withoutdirectionin life.I’m ata crossroadsin my life.She’sgone througha lot in life.He’sgone(= died).
metaphor vs. metaphorical linguistic expression
Common source domains
the human body(the heart of the problem)health and illness(a healthy society, she hurt my feelings)animals(a cow, a bitch)plants(the fruits of her labour, exportsflourished)buildings and construction(he's in ruins financially)machines and tools(conceptual tools, she produces a book)games and sport(to toy with the idea)money and economic transactions(spending time, investing in arelationship)cooking and food(to cook up a story, a recipe for success)heat and cold(a cold reception, icy stare)light and darkness(a dark mood, a cloud of suspicion)forces(he's driving me nuts)movement and direction(he went crazy, inflation is soaring)
Common target domains
emotiondesiremoralitythoughtsociety/nationpoliticseconomyhuman relationshipscommunicationtimelife and deathreligionevents and actions
Classification of metaphors
conceptual metaphorsareclassified according to:conventionalitycognitivefunction
Classification according to conventionality
Conventional conceptual metaphors- well-entrenched ways of thinking about or understanding an abstract domain (often expressed by conventional linguistic expressions).
Classification according to conventionality
Unconventional conceptual metaphorsunconventional linguistic expressionunconventional source-target connection
The cognitive function of metaphors
Ontological metaphorsStructural metaphorsOrientational metaphors
The cognitive function of metaphors
Ontological metaphorsThey give ontological status to abstractorvague concepts (i.e. we think and talk of them as if they wereTHINGS).They allow us to refer to, quantify, to identify more diffuse aspects of our experience.
The cognitive function of metaphors
Ontological metaphors– examplesGive mea call. (an event is a physical object)my mind (a possessed physical object)in love (an emotional state is a container)Life has cheated me. (life is a person; personification)Ontological metaphors can be elaborated into structural metaphors.
The cognitive function of metaphors
Structural metaphorsTheircognitive function is to enable to understand the target by means of the structure of the source (by means of conceptual mappings).The source domain provides a relatively rich knowledge for the target concept.
The cognitive function of metaphors
Orientational metaphorsTheir cognitive function is to make a set of target concepts coherent in our conceptual system.They are based onhuman spatial orientations (e.g. up-down, centre-periphery, etc.)
The cognitive function of metaphors
Orientational metaphorsMORE IS UP: Speak up, please.SICK IS DOWN: He fell ill.CONTROL IS UP: He is under my control.RATIONAL IS UP: The discussion fell to an emotional level.
Practice
Identify source and target domains. Label the metaphor.His ego is very fragile.Inflation has robbed me of my savings.He’s rich in ideas.She has a fertile imagination.Life is empty for him.My fear of insects is driving her crazy.
His ego is very fragile.THE MIND IS A BRITTLE OBJECTInflation has robbed me of my savings. INFLATION IS A PERSONHe’s rich in ideas.IDEAS ARE MONEYShe has a fertile imagination.IDEAS ARE PLANTSLife is empty for him. LIFE IS A CONTAINERMy fear of insects is driving her crazy.FEAR IS AN OBJECT. FEAR IS A FORCE.
The partial nature of metaphorical mappings
which parts of the source are mapped onto which parts in the targetWhen a metaphor focuses on one or some aspects of atargetconcept, then ithighlightsthat concept (those concepts).The other aspects of the concept remainhidden(out of focus).
The partial nature of metaphorical mappings
e.g. in the metaphor ARGUMENT IS A BUILDING we do not utilise many elements of the source such as doors, windows, living in, etc.
The partial nature of metaphorical mappings
Several metaphorsareused to structure the concept ofargument:container metaphor – highlights the contentwar – control over the argumentjourney – progress, contentbuilding – construction, strength
Exercise
What aspects of the source and target domains areutilised and highlightedin the metaphors of love below:LOVE IS A JOURNEYIt’s been a long bumpy road.Look how far we’ve come.LOVE IS A NUTRIENTI’m starved for love.LOVE IS A FIREHe is burning with loveLOVE IS MAGICI’m under her spell.
Exercise
What aspects of the source and target domains are utilised and highlighted in the metaphors of love below:LOVE IS A JOURNEYIt’s been a long bumpy road. (progress)Look how far we’ve come.LOVE IS A NUTRIENTI’m starved for love.LOVE IS A FIREHe is burning with loveLOVE IS MAGICI’m under her spell.
Exercise
What aspects of the source and target domains are utilised and highlighted in the metaphors of love below:LOVE IS A JOURNEYIt’s been a long bumpy road. (progress)Look how far we’ve come.LOVE IS A NUTRIENTI’m starved for love. (desire)LOVE IS A FIREHe is burning with loveLOVE IS MAGICI’m under her spell.
Exercise
What aspects of the source and target domains are utilised and highlighted in the metaphors of love below:LOVE IS A JOURNEYIt’s been a long bumpy road. (progress)Look how far we’ve come.LOVE IS A NUTRIENTI’m starved for love. (desire)LOVE IS A FIREHe is burning with love(intensity)LOVE IS MAGICI’m under her spell.
Exercise
What aspects of the source and target domains are utilised and highlighted in the metaphors of love below:LOVE IS A JOURNEYIt’s been a long bumpy road. (progress)Look how far we’ve come.LOVE IS A NUTRIENTI’m starved for love. (desire)LOVE IS A FIREHe is burning with love(intensity)LOVE IS MAGICI’m under her spell. (loss of control)
The concept of sadness: an analysis
Identify the conceptual metaphors manifested by these examples.Which aspects of sadness are highlighted and which aspects are hidden?Waves of depression came over him.He brought me down with his remarks.He is in a dark mood.I am filled with sorrow.That was a terrible blow.Tim heals all sorrows.He was insane with grief.He drowned his sorrow in drink.His feelings of misery got out of hand.She was ruled by sorrow.
Waves of depression came over him.SADNESS IN A NATURAL FORCEHighlighted: passivity, lack of controlHidden: cause, attempt at control, behavioural responses (?)
He brought me down with his remarks.SAD IS DOWNHighlighted: negative characterHidden: cause, attempt at control
He is in a dark mood.SAD IS DARKHighlighted: negative characterHidden: cause, attempt t control
I am filled with sorrow.SADNESS IS A FLUID IN A CONTAINERHighlighted: intensity, attempt at control, loss of controlHidden: negative character
That was a terrible blow.SADNESS IS A PHYSICAL FORCEHighlighted: passivity, sudden impactHidden: cause, attempt at control, behavioral responses
Tim heals all sorrows.SADNESS IS A DISEASEHighlighted: negative character, passivity, behavioral responsesHidden: attempt at control
He was insane with grief.SADNESS IS INSANITYHighlighted: lack of controlHidden: attempt at control
He drowned his sorrow in drink.SADNESS IS AN OPPONENTHighlighted: attempt at controlHidden: passivity
His feelings of misery got out of hand.SADNESS IS A CAPTIVE ANIMALHighlighted: loss of controlHidden: passivity
She was ruled by sorrow.SADNESS IS A SOCIAL SUPERIORHighlighted: lack of controlHidden: attempt at control

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The conceptual metaphor theory - uwm.edu.pl