Emotion metaphors in Spanish retain aspects of spatial meaning
Previous work has shown that the abstract use of the spatial prepositions in and on retains spatial meaning, such as containment and support that includes the control relationship between a located object (the figure) and a reference object (the landmark/ground) (Feist & Gentner, 2003; Talmy, 1983). We extend these ideas to the case of metaphorical descriptions of emotion in Spanish—some of them featuring the emotion as a located entity in the person’s body, others featuring emotion as the ground in which the person’s body stands. Two rating experiments show that people judge emotions in Spanish as more controllable when they are described as located entities (the figure) than when they are described as grounds. We conclude that functional elements of the spatial meaning of the preposition en in Spanish are extended to abstract uses in metaphor, affecting the perceived controllability of emotions.
Keywords: conceptual metaphors, emotion, spatial language, Spanish
Published online: 23 October 2018
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