Publication details [#2415]

Beliavsky, Ninah. 2004. Review of Liu, Dilin (2002) 'Metaphor, Culture and World View: The Case of American English and the Chinese Language'. Lanham Md.; University Press of America. Adygeia State University Journal, Philology and the Arts 4 (2) : 355–367.


While metaphor is universal, the choices, however, of what is being equated as in A=B, is often culture specific but not culture exclusive. Ever since Dilin Liu came to the United States in 1985, he has become interested in the way Americans use language, and especially fascinated by the extensive jargon in the American daily life. He has become amazed by what he calls "conflation" and I will call the "marriage" between sports on the one hand and politics, business, and personal life on the other. Liu claims that Americans view their life as sport and therefore they tend to think about life and act in such a way as if they are in a game. Thus politics, business, and personal relationships are viewed as a game in which one has to win. He provides a myriad of examples such as: "Politicians 'fight' and 'compete' with their opponents in order to 'win' an election. Business people have to 'beat' their 'competitors' to survive. People often 'touch base' with each other, and they like to 'score points' on a date" (Liu 2002, p. 3). Chinese, just like American English, has its own unique metaphorical idioms. The Chinese, however, do not view their world as a game. And so sport is not a dominant metaphor in China. What is central to Chinese life is family and eating. So while in America politicians are compared to sportsmen-they have to' run' for and 'win' the election; politicians in China are regarded as parents, 'fumu guan', meaning "father-mother officials". Chinese politicians run their country as a mother and father run their family. No wonder that in Chinese, the word for "country" is 'guojia', which literally means: 'guo' = state- 'jia' = family.. (Ninah Beliavsky)