Publication details [#3497]

Cienki, Alan. 2005. Metaphor in the ''Strict Father'' and ''Nurturant Parent'' cognitive models: Theoretical issues raised in an empirical study. Cognitive Linguistics 16 (2) : 279–312. 34 pp.


The metaphorical components of two cognitive models of moral and political systems, presented in Lakoff (1996 [2002]), were tested empirically, using a set of televised debates between two candidates for US president as data. Few verbal metaphoric expressions were found in the data which directly reflected the conceptual metaphors proposed in the models. However, a large number of mostly non-metaphoric expressions were found which constitute entailments of the models. This suggests a form of reasoning according to the logic of the proposed metaphors. The speakers’ metaphoric gestures in one of the debates were then coded and analyzed. Quantitative analysis produced results similar to the linguistic analysis, but qualitative analysis highlighted significant differences between the models, both in terms of their composition and how they can be expressed. The study raises methodological issues for metaphor research, and theoretical questions about the ways of identifying and labeling conceptual metaphors and about the status of cognitive and cultural models. (Alan Cienki)