Publication details [#2669]

Boers, Frank. 1999. When a bodily source domain becomes prominent: The joy of counting metaphors in the socio-economic domain In Gibbs, Raymond W., Jr. and Gerard J. Steen. Metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 175). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 47–56. 10 pp.
Publication type
Article in book  
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: John Benjamins


It is being argued in this paper that, in general, a source domain is more likely to be used for metaphorical mapping as it becomes more salient in everyday experience. This increase or decrease of salience may also be noted for the source domain of the human body. One circumstance under which the body becomes more salient (i.e., when the awareness of one's bodily existence is enhanced) is when it starts malfunctioning, like in cases of illness. Since many common illnesses are related to bad weather conditions, this type of growing bodily awareness will occur most typically in winter (in the northern hemisphere). Our corpus-based quantitative analysis of 10 years of opinion articles in The Economist reveals that the authors' use of the HEALTH metaphor, rather than other available conceptual metaphors, is indeed especially frequent in winter times. If - as suggested by experimental research - these metaphors guide people's abstract reasoning, then the observed seasonal fluctuation may be taken as indirect evidence of the connection between bodily experience and abstract thought. (Frank Boers)