Chapter published in:Language, Culture and Identity – Signs of Life
Edited by Vera da Silva Sinha, Ana Moreno-Núñez and Zhen Tian
[Cognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts 13] 2020
► pp. 157–179
Construing the self in discourse
A socio-cognitive approach
This chapter explores the topic of signs of life through examining metaphorical representations of the inner self. The frequent use of inner self metaphors by Chinese speakers in talk-in-interaction suggests a close relationship between metaphorical conceptualisation and the communication of identity. The analytical framework departs from the performativity of self-representation. Speakers construe self-reflection by indexing more than one aspect of the self in front of other interlocutors. Conceptually, the split of the subject and the self anchors self-reflective performances. The data is drawn from focus group discussions among Mainland-born Chinese immigrants in Australia. The present chapter uses one focus group as a case study to illustrate the proposed socio-cognitive approach to study inner self metaphors. This approach incorporates elements from sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics. It is argued that such an approach has the merit of capturing the socio-culturally embedded meanings of inner self metaphors in discursive acts.
Keywords: performance, inner self, metaphorical conceptualisation, socio-cultural meanings
Published online: 30 April 2020
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