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Pragmatics 7

(4) Marie is sitting at the head of the table


Outline: A. Recap
B. Conceptual metaphors
C. Classification of metaphors
A. Recap

Anomaly: ........................................................................................................
Non-literal meaning: ......................................................................................
Q: How does the non-literal meaning of metaphors come about?
-> 3 answers:

Face, positive/negative face


Politeness strategies
Negative vs positive politeness

B. Conceptual Metaphors

Answer 1) when the hearer notices that some expressions like the ones in (1-4) are
'bizarre' when understood literally, he uses inferences in order to derive the non-literal
interpretation within the context in which the sentence is uttered

1. Introduction

Answer 2) many such 'bizarre' expressions can be interpreted as comparisons between


two entities:

Focus: figurative or non-literal meaning: in metaphors

(5) My car is a lemon. = My car is like a lemon or

(1)

(6) Dr Jones is a butcher = Dr Jones is like a butcher.

Frank is a young philosopher.


Frank is a chauvinistic pig.

Non-literal meaning used to be regarded as less principled and less rule-governed than
literal meaning
But the study of metaphor has shown that:
a) metaphors are very frequent in everyday language.
b)The use of metaphor is not erratic, but follows certain principles.

Answer 3) George Lakoff and Mark Johnson - the book Metaphors We Live By (1980)
Metaphor - usually regarded
- as a stylistic device used in literary texts, poetry, etc.
- as an instance of extraordinary rather than ordinary language
- as something linked to language, not thought or action
=> most people think metaphors are not necessary

(1)' Frank is a snake in the grass

BUT George Lakoff and Mark Johnson stress that metaphor is more than a stylistic
device.
- metaphor is very common in everyday life,
- metaphors are not only encountered in language but also
in thought and action.

Anomaly: ........................................................................................................
Non-literal meaning: ......................................................................................

Today's lecture - focuses on the theory of conceptual metaphor proposed by Lakoff


& Johnson = answer 3.

(2) Jane lives in a cottage at the foot of the mountain

Etymology of metaphor: meta = over & pherein = to carry'

Anomaly: ........................................................................................................
Non-literal meaning: ......................................................................................

2. Definition of conceptual metaphor:

Activity 1: Briefly explain for each of the following sentences what it is about them
that makes them anomalous if they are interpreted literally. Then describe what kind of
intended non-literal meaning they convey.

(3) Sam is a pig

= a mental operation, reflected in language, in which speakers represent one abstract


concept in terms of another more concrete concept.

Anomaly: ........................................................................................................
Non-literal meaning: ......................................................................................

=> the essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in
terms of another.

(7) a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.

Your claims are indefensible.


He attacked every weak point in my argument.
His criticisms were right on target.
I demolished his argument.
I've never won an argument with him.
You disagree? Okay, shoot!
If you use that strategy, he'll wipe you out.
He shot down all of my arguments.

The examples in (7) are linguistic expressions which associate the abstract concept
ARGUMENT to a more concrete concept - WAR. In our culture, arguing with
someone is seen/represented as military war.
The sentences in (7) reflect the conceptual metaphor : ARGUMENT IS WAR
In the conceptual system of speakers of English, the concepts argument and war are
connected and this is reflected in the way they use language.

1) Structural metaphors: in this type of metaphors, one concept is represented in


terms of another concept, without any constraint as to the concrete of abstract nature of
either.
(8)

a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

Youre wasting your time.


Theres little time left lets hurry.
Come on, were running out of time.
Sorry to take away some of your precious time...
This project is not worth considering for a second.

In western cultures, time is conceptualised as a valuable commodity, whose waste


should be avoided
TIME IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY/TIME IS MONEY
----------------------------------------------------------------------When we speak about language we use the following complex metaphor:

Q: Why are conceptual metaphors used?

IDEAS or MEANINGS are OBJECTS. LINGUISTIC EXPRESSIONS ARE


CONTAINERS. COMMUNICATION IS SENDING.

Speakers use of a familiar area of knowledge, called the source domain, to understand
an area of knowledge that is less familiar, the target domain.

= The speaker puts ideas ('objects') into words ('containers') and sends them to a hearer
who takes the idea/object out of the words/containers

Source domain in (7)....


Target domain in (7).....

(9)

The source domain is typically understood through our experience of the physical
world around us.
The concepts from the familiar source domain are placed in correspondence with
concepts in the target domain in order to make the latter more accessible to human
understanding.
In (7): the more familiar concept of war is placed in correspondence with a more
abstract concept - argument in order for us to understand the concept argument more
easily.
(5) My car is a lemon.
(6) Dr Jones is a butcher.
We know from our experience of the world, for example, that lemons are sour and that
butchers can be messy and rough in their work. This familiar knowledge helps us
understand the negative aspects of car ownership and medical practice via metaphor.

a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.

It's hard to get that idea across to him.


I gave you that idea.
Your reasons came through to us.
It's difficult to put my ideas into words.
When you have a good idea, try to capture it immediately in words.
Try to pack more thought into fewer words.
His words carry little meaning.
The idea is buried in terribly dense paragraphs.

Activity: Try to identify the structural metaphor in the sentences


below:
(A)
Metaphor: .............................................................................................
..........
(a) John and Mary have come a long way together
(b) Our lives have taken diferent paths
(c) I think she will go far in life
(d) We have come to a crossroads in our life

C. Classification of metaphors

(B)
Metaphor: .............................................................................................
..........
(a) Stop wasting my time
(b) We can save time by taking this shortcut
(c) This delay will cost us at least two hours
(d) She always spends too much time shopping

HAPPY IS UP vs. SAD IS DOWN


(9)

a.
b.
c.
d.

Im feeling up.
My spirits rose.
Hes really low these days.
I fell into a depression.

Activity: What are the conceptual metaphors related to the sentences below:

(C)
Metaphor: .............................................................................................
..........
(a) Jane put in her two cents worth
(b) John is rich in ideas
(c) That book is a treasure trove of ideas
(d) Mary has a wealth of new ideas

............................................... vs. ............................................


(10)
a.
Get up!
b.
He rises early in the morning.
c.
He dropped off to sleep.
d.
Hes under hypnosis.

More than one concrete source domain may be used to structure


various aspects of a more abstract target domain, if that domain is
important enough in the conceptual system of the language.

(11)

(D)
Metaphor: .............................................................................................
..........
(a) Johns theory gave birth to a new way of thinking about physics
(b) He is the father of modern biology
(c) Freds brainchild was that the moon is uninhabitable
(d) Her ideas spawned a number of new approaches in research
(e) That idea died of years ago
(E)
Metaphor: .............................................................................................
..........
(a) That idea died on the vine
(b) His ideas have fnally come to fruition
(c) That version of linguistics is an ofshoot of an earlier theory
(d) Linguistics is a feld with many branches
(e) Id like to plant a novel idea in your mind

............................................... vs. ............................................


Hes at the peak of health.
Hes in top shape.
He fell ill.
He came down with the flu.
His health is declining.

............................................... vs. ............................................


(12)

a.
b.

Lazarus rose from the dead.


He dropped dead.

............................................... vs. ............................................


(13)

a.
b.
c.
d.

My income rose last year.


The number of errors he made is incredibly low.
He is underage.
If youre too hot, turn the heat down.

............................................... vs. ............................................


(14)

2) Orientational metaphors organize a whole system of concepts - moods, quantities,


virtues, emotions or reason in terms of oppositions related to spatial orientation: updown, in-out, front-back, on-off, deep-shallow, central-peripheral, near-far.
Such spatial orientations arise from the way our bodies function within our physical
environment.

a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

a.
b.
c.
d.

Things are looking up.


Things are at an all-time low.
He does high-quality work.
Her enthusiasm was ebbing.

............................................... vs. ............................................


(15)

a.
b.

She has high standards.


She is upright.

c.
d.
e.
f.

She is an upstanding citizen.


That was a low trick.
I wouldnt stoop to that.
That would be beneath me.

............................................... vs. ............................................

e.

Personification = ontological metaphors where a physical /abstract entity is described


as being a person
(19)

(16) The discussion fell to the emotional level, but I raised it back up to the rational
plane.
(17) He couldnt rise above his emotions.
Our experience of spatial orientations gives rise to orientational metaphors (see above).
Our experiences with physical objects (especially our own bodies) give rise to
ontological metaphors
3) Ontological metaphors enable us to view events, activities, emotions, ideas as
physical entities and substances (similar to the actual physical objects in the
real world).
The term ontological is derived from the Greek root onta the things
which exist -logy the science of .
Container metaphors: treat abstractions as though they were
physical containers of various kinds.
Emotions are viewed as fluids that get heated or cooled within containers
(18)

a.
b.
c.
d.

When hearing about the libel, he blew his top.


She was steaming with outrage.
Let him simmer for a while, he deserves it.
Ralph had an outburst of rage/laughter/despair.

The demonstrators could not stifle their fury.

a. Life has cheated me.


b. The experiment gave birth to a new theory in genetics.
c. Cancer finally caught up with him.
d. Inflation has attacked the foundation of our economy.
e. Our biggest enemy right now is inflation.

Activity: Try to identify the relevant aspects of each ontological


metaphor
in each sentence below.
(19)

a. There were many runners in the race


...................................................
b. Jack got into car racing as a young man
c. John and Mary are in love
d. The girl fell into a deep depression

Conclusions:
- metaphors are rooted in physical and cultural experience;
- they are not random, but systematic: all the metaphors involving UP are
positive in some way or evoke general well-being => the various
metaphors are coherent with each other
- our conceptual system is metaphoric : we represent abstract
concepts through other more accessible concepts