Publication details [#4576]

Fiksdal, Susan. 1999. Metaphorically speaking: Gender and person. Language Sciences 21 (3) : 345–354. 10 pp.


To establish how men and women use metaphors to describe their communication, metalinguistic metaphors about a discussion seminar were extracted from US undergraduate college students (N = 60) whose oral descriptions of the seminar were audiotaped or who answered questions about seminar communication in an open question questionnaire. Reddy's (1979) analysis of metalinguistic communication, in which a view of "language as conduit" was identified as the central conceptual metaphor, serves as a framework. It was found that the metaphorical expressions used by male students are grounded in the conceptual metaphor of "seminar is a game," whereas among female students the conceptual metaphor of "seminar is a community" was dominant. The usage of these metaphors to describe other conceptual categories pertinent to the seminar environment (i.e., "language is a conduit," "ideas are valuable objects," "ideas are malleable objects," "ideas are throwable objects," "seminar is a building," "seminar is a journey," and the speaking of others) are described. The gender differences are related to socialization processes. (S. Paul in LLBA 1999, vol. 33, n. 4)