Chapter published in:Cultural-Linguistic Explorations into Spirituality, Emotionality, and Society
Edited by Hans-Georg Wolf, Denisa Latić and Anna Finzel
[Cognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts 14] 2021
► pp. 214–235
Culture-specific elaborations in cross-linguistic studies of metaphors
Comparing life is a journey in Chinese and British English
Metaphorical mappings are often shaped by socio-cultural backgrounds of the speakers (Musolff, 2015; Su, 2002; Yu & Jia, 2016). In the present corpus study that compares Chinese and British English metaphors, the metaphor life is a journey specifically – ubiquitous in both languages – is found to have different elaborations. The concepts of difficulty and purpose are highlighted in Chinese metaphors, while change and progress are more salient in British English. From a cultural perspective, the preoccupation of Chinese societies with a goal-oriented life could have contributed to such differences. Beyond that, journey, the source domain from which ideas are drawn, is itself perceived in distinct ways in these two cultural contexts/speech communities. Discrete evaluations and attitudes are reflected in the metaphorical representations of life, which are mapped according to culture-specific assumptions about journey. The inextricable relations between source-internal, target-induced, and context-dependent aspects have all contributed to the diversity of conceptual metaphors.
Keywords: life is a journey metaphor, event structure metaphor, Chinese, British English, corpus linguistics, cultural model
Published online: 08 September 2021
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