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Metaphor and Culture
Metaphor and Culture

Author(s): Zoltán Kövecses
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Scientia
Keywords: conceptual metaphor; variation; embodiment; metaphor-culture interface

Summary/Abstract: To see and appreciate the relationship between metaphor and culture in its complexity, we have to deal with a number of basic issues. By metaphor in this paper, I will primarily mean “conceptual metaphor” that can have a number of linguistic manifestations (see Lakoff and Johnson 1980; Kövecses 2002/2010). A conceptual metaphor consists of a set of correspondences, or mappings, between a “source” and a “target” domain. The meaning of particular metaphorical linguistic expressions is based on such correspondences. The issues that form a part of the “metaphor-culture interface” are numerous. In this paper, I will discuss the following six. First, we need to ask if there are at all universal conceptual metaphors that are in a sense culture-independent. Second, if there are (which is the case), how can we account for their universality? Third, if we also find in our metaphors variation (which we do), what are the major cultural dimensions along which the metaphors vary? Fourth, we need to examine whether broad, general cultural dimensions are sufficient to account for all variation in metaphors (they are not), or whether metaphor variation also depends on more fine-grained contextual factors. Fifth, is a more fine-grained theory of metaphor variation helpful in understanding everyday talk, poetic language, or both? Sixth, and finally, what role does metaphor play in the creation and understanding of discourse?

  • Issue Year: 2/2010
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 197-220
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: English