Chapter published in:Perspectives on Abstract Concepts: Cognition, language and communication
Edited by Marianna Bolognesi and Gerard J. Steen
[Human Cognitive Processing 65] 2019
► pp. 215–237
Metaphor in action
Action verbs and abstract meaning
Embodiment plays an essential role in both concrete and abstract semantic representation. As a consequence, action verbs are extensively involved in the conceptualization and linguistic encoding of figurative meanings. In the light of several theoretical frameworks, this chapter aims to investigate the mechanisms that enable verbs to acquire new abstract meanings. The analysis we present focuses specifically on the metaphorical variation of a cohesive group of five Italian action verbs codifying a movement along the vertical axis (alzare, abbassare, salire, scendere, sollevare). The results confirm the Invariance Principle worked out by Lakoff: the metaphorical mapping of an action verb is strictly constrained by the image schemas involved in its core and concrete meaning.
Keywords: image schema, invariance principle, semantic variation, verticality
Published online: 06 June 2019
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