Everyone “leaves” the world eventually
Culture-based homogeneity and variation in death is departure
What causes metaphors to be similar or different across languages? It can be tempting to associate differences with culture and similarities with embodiment, since human cultures are diverse and human bodies are comparable. However, we argue that the death of a loved one is such a widespread experience that it forms part of every human culture. We argue that linguistic instantiations of death is departure tend to focus on the starting point of the deceased person’s journey and the arrival of the person’s remains in their final resting place. We attribute these trends to the fact that living people around the world are focused on their loved ones’ absence in the here-and-now, and living people often place importance on physical sites associated with deceased loved ones, such as the location of their remains. These cross-linguistic trends emphasize that culture can lead to similarities as well as differences in metaphoric structures.
Keywords: primary metaphor, cultural filter, embodiment, blending, conceptual integration, death
Published online: 17 August 2020
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