IMA Linguistics 540 Class 10

George Lakoff & Mark Johnson –
Metaphors We Live By

How basic is metaphor to our conceptual system?  Do our metaphors define our reality?

STRUCTURAL METAPHORS

ARGUMENT IS WAR (But it could be dance!)
Is this why pacifists don’t like to argue?

TIME IS MONEY (i.e., a valuable commodity)

Michael Reddy – the Conduit Metaphor:

  • IDEAS (Of MEANINGS) ARE OBJECTS.
  • LINGUISTIC EXPRESSIONS ARE CONTAINERS.
  • COMMUNICATION IS SENDING.

“The speaker puts ideas (objects) into words (containers) and sends them (along a conduit) to a bearer who takes the idea/objects out of the word/containers.” (p. 10)
What does the conduit metaphor mask?
What doesn’t this metaphor fit?

ORIENTATIONAL METAPHORS

Work done by William Nagy (1974) (Ph.D. Dissertation)

Experiential Bases of Metaphors

  • What does it mean for a metaphor to have an experiential basis?
    •  Metaphors are not arbitrary

What is the physical basis of these metaphors?

HAPPY IS UP; SAD IS DOWN.
CONSCIOUS IS UP; UNCONSCIOUS IS DOWN

HEALTH AND LIFE ARE UP
SICKNESS AND DEATH ARE DOWN

HAVING CONTROL OR FORCE IS UP
BEING SUBJECT TO CONTROL OR FORCE IS DOWN

MORE IS UP; LESS IS DOWN
FORESEEABLE FUTURE EVENTS ARE UP (AND AHEAD)

HIGH STATUS IS UP; LOW STATUS IS DOWN
GOOD IS UP; BAD IS DOWN
VIRTUE IS UP; DEPRAVITY IS DOWN
RATIONAL IS UP; EMOTIONAL IS DOWN

Internal Systematicity

Metaphor is consistent, not random

Another Kind of Coherence: Cultural

Values are evident in metaphors
Interesting reference (p. 24) to cultures where up-down is not a priority; where passive is better than active. (Buddhism?)

Ontological Metaphors

ENTITY AND SUBSTANCE METAPHORS

INFLATION IS AN ENTITY

Examples:

  • Referring
  • Quantifying
  • Identifying aspects
  • Identifying causes
  • Setting goals and motivating actions

THE MIND IS A MACHINE
THE MIND IS A BRITTLE OBJECT

Container Metaphors

Land areas: human-imposed boundaries; political maps

The visual field: what we see is a territory

Events, Actions, Activities and States
A racewashing
love
depression

Personification

Non-human entities given human motivations & characteristics
“Technology is stealing my job”

 

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