Publication details [#8149]

Musolff, Andreas. 2004. Metaphor and conceptual evolution. 7 : 55–75. 21 pp. URL


This paper investigates perspectives of applying the notion of “evolution” to the development of conceptual metaphors. It presents evidence for historical changes in mappings from the source domain of LIFE-BODYHEALTH to the target domain of STATE-SOCIETY. The data show that the body politic metaphor has retained a strong influence on popular conceptualisations of the political domain. However, some source scenarios appear to be particularly prominent as inputs for argumentative exploitation, whilst other domain aspects show little productivity. On the basis of corpus data for the use of body-, especially heart-metaphors in British and German debates about the EU, I shall discuss how conceptual variation may be interpreted as evidence of “evolutionary” development, and which methodological consequences would follow from such an approach.