Publication details [#13119]

Zhou, Jiangrong. 2017. Estudio cognitivo de la metáfora y metonimia del eufemismo lingüístico de "morir" en chino y español: Análisis contrastivo y su aplicación en ELE. Madrid: Universidad Complutense de Madrid. URL
Publication type
Ph.D dissertation
Publication language


The main objective of this work is to show and compare the way in which Spanish and Chinese speakers conceptualize death in the field of euphemistic expressions through conceptual models such as metaphor, metonymy, and their interaction. This PhD dissertation consists of seven chapters. In the first chapter the author focuses on presenting the phenomenon of taboo and linguistic taboo from a diachronic perspective, analyzing the etymology of the word "taboo", the affective ambivalence linked to the origin of taboo, its evolution to the present, the current taboo’s features and motivations and the linguistic taboo’s classifications, as well as the subcategories covered by the subject of death. On the other hand, we delimit the concepts related to euphemism and linguistic euphemism and explain the linguistic mechanisms and internal structures of euphemistic expressions in the field of ​​death. In the second chapter, we present an overview of the theory of metaphor from rhetorical classics to the emergence of the cognitivist approach. We also introduce a contemporary theory of metaphor, image schemas, primary metaphor and the metaphorical complexes on which our work is based. Within this section, we address the standard notion of conceptual metonymy, the interaction between metaphor and metonymy (whose cognitive functions are of great importance), and the conceptual metaphor in the construction of linguistic euphemisms. In the third chapter we investigate the cultural conceptualizations or cultural models which play a crucial role when complementing the idiosyncratic elements reflected in linguistic manifestations. In this section, we present the main cultural models related to death, such as the immortality of the soul, the feudal hierarchical thought, the Confucianism, the religious and philosophical Taoism, and the Buddhism in Chinese culture; also, the beliefs and traditions of the original sin, resurrection and eternal life in Spanish culture. In the fourth chapter we focus on the contrastive study of the linguistic euphemism of death in Chinese and Spanish. Following the schemas of the cognitive models proposed in chapter II (conceptual metaphor, metaphorical complexes, conceptual metonymy, metonymic complexes, and four possible interactions), we analyze the various conceptual processes that motivate euphemistic expressions in both languages, according to 19 (coincident and divergent) thematic areas, and we compare the conceptual models based on the universality and particularity that characterize each case. In the fifth chapter we apply the contrastive study to the teaching of Spanish and emphasize the importance of constructing the L2 conceptual system and developing metaphorical competence in the learning of a foreign language. We develop didactic proposals based on poetry on the theme of death, which aim to develop metaphoric, intercultural and pragmatic competence, and improve reading comprehension, related not only to the semantic competence, but also to the structure which takes part in the conceptual system. In the sixth chapter we systematize the results of the contrastive analysis, such as the similarities and divergences, the relevance of the conceptual models, the linguistic productivity in the field of ​​death, and the degree of conceptual elaboration. In the last chapter, we incorporate new classification criteria and conclude our research from two perspectives: first, the functions of cultural models in the conceptual process, and second, cognitive models for the linguistic euphemisms of dying.