Our metaphorical minds
Language as cultural manifestations
Aside from metaphor being an important language device reflecting human cognition, it also provides a window into the understanding of culture (Kövecsec 2019). Language is a function of culture because it is a form of the verbal and nonverbal systems by which a group member can communicate with another member. Language connects people of the same cultural identity because it functions as a common bond between people who have the same linguistic heritage. As argued in Verhagen (2008), values of one’s understanding of the world he lives in may in turn be influenced by the conceptual metaphors he unconsciously holds to visualize his world. Verhagen has provided a valuable standpoint, yet it is western-centered and European-oriented. Through metaphors identified in Chinese in proverbs, food, marriage, and time expressions, this paper intends to address the following questions: Does conceptual metaphors reflect any specific Chinese mode of thinking? Does such conceptualization give a taste of Chinese culture? What kind(s) of theoretical and pragmatic implications can be derived from our line of investigation? It is thus hoped that this paper may provide empirical evidence with reference to mappings between thought and language, which in turn, may serve as a way to explore culture.
Keywords: metaphor, language and thought, cognitive linguistics, culture
Published online: 08 September 2021
Chiang, Wen-yu & Sheng-hsiu Chiu
Fauconnier, G. & Mark Turner
Gibbs, R. W.
Gibbs, Jr. Raymond W.
Graesser, A., Long, D., & Mio, J.
Huang, Chun-chieh & Zurcher, Erik
Langacker, Ronald W.
Pillio, H., Barlow, J., Fine, H. & Pollio, M.
Su, Lily I-wen
Verhagen, Frans C.