Universal conceptual metaphors

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CHAPTER 3 CONCEPTUAL DOMAINS AND METAPHORICAL MAPPING IN ENGLISH

Introduction

In this chapter a critical survey of the analysis of Orientational metaphors and Container metaphors done by Lakoff and Johnson (1980) and the analysis of the Event Structure metaphor done by Lakoff (1993) and Johnson (1993) is presented. I will specifically present selected Orientational, Container, Event Structure metaphors in the sections which follow because I find that Lakoff and Johnson (1980) focused mainly on these and their theory on conceptual metaphor is based largely on these. It is my intention to compare English and Shona conceptual metaphors because I am likely to gain some insights into the comparable aspects of the two languages by focusing on these conceptual metaphors which have been studied thoroughly. I will also give the conceptual schema of each type of conceptual metaphor at the end of each section.
Where necessary, reference is made to other linguists who also studied conceptual metaphors such as Turner (1987), Kovecses (2002), Croft and Cruse (2004). These sources give us a broad perspective of current views and approaches to the theory of metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics in a specific language. In their study of metaphor, Lakoff and Johnson (1980), distinguish between a conceptual metaphor and linguistic expressions that are instantiations of the conceptual metaphor. According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980), conceptual metaphor refers to a conceptual system where one domain, which is the source domain, maps onto another domain, which is the target. As a typical example of conceptual metaphor, consider the example ARGUMENT IS WAR. In this conceptual metaphor two domains, argument and war are related. War is the source domain (SD), which maps onto argument, the target domain (TD).
Lakoff and Johnson (1980) claim that in order to understand conceptual metaphors we have to reconstruct the ontological and epistemological correspondences that are mapped from the source domain to the target domain. Lakoff (1993) exemplifies the mapping of ontological and epistemic correspondences in a few conceptual metaphors only. That is, LOVE IS A JOURNEY, LIFE IS A JOURNEY and A CAREER IS A JOURNEY and the Event Structure conceptual metaphors. For the rest of their conceptual metaphors they give instantiations of the conceptual metaphors only. If, according to Lakoff and Johnson (1980) the understanding of metaphor is so crucially dependent on the understanding of the ontological and epistemological essences of the relevant domains, then one would expect to find such analyses in all the discussions of the various conceptual metaphors. This, unfortunately, is not the case. For this reason I am going to do a reconstruction of the ontology and epistemology of the domains.

Orientational Metaphors

According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980:14), Orientational metaphors involve the mapping of attributes in the domain of spatial orientation onto other conceptual domains. Typically orientations such as UP/DOWN and BACK/FRONT constitute source domains with attributes that are mapped onto target domains such as states and emotions. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) explicate the ontology and epistemology motivating Orientational metaphors by claiming that these spatial orientations are based on the nature of the human body and the way the body operates in our physical environment (ibid). Human beings walk erect. This means that they have the ability to overcome the gravitational force. As a result of this the erect body has a positive connotation and the prostrate posture has a negative one. This is the reason why UP has positive connotations. By way of illustration of the class of Orientational metaphors Lakoff and Johnson (1980) refer to the expressions such as: I am feeling low; my spirits rose. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) work backwards from the metaphorical expressions to the conceptual metaphors. Given their claims about epistemology and ontology, the proper way of analysing the conceptual metaphors would obviously be to reconstruct the epistemological and the ontological aspects of the domains involved in conceptual metaphor. Consider, for example a possible ontology for vertical spatial orientation.
Figure 3.1 shows that there are two domains: the orientation domain (source domain) and the states domain (target domain). The orientation domain maps onto the states domain. Embodiment motivates the mapping. So this is where the values get to be associated with the spatial orientation. The level position signifies a neutral position and it is neither good nor bad. If the position is on the level in both the ORIENTATION domain and the STATES domain, this is neutral. We can say that any position above LEVEL is good and any position below LEVEL is bad. Prostrate is not so good or bad. Therefore GOOD IS UP, BAD IS DOWN and LEVEL IS NOT SO GOOD OR BAD. It can, therefore be concluded that we can also have UP (above norm) or DOWN (below the norm) or LEVEL (neutral).
The above figure also illustrates the Ontological mapping of the horizontal spatial Orientation. According to this spatial orientation we experience the world with the front part of our bodies. This is construed as good. Therefore anything that is in front of us is good. FRONT IS GOOD. Anything that is behind us is bad. BACK IS BAD.
Before we go on to see how actual metaphorical expressions subsume this conceptual ontological schema we first need to make a few comments on metaphorical expressions. It would appear that metaphorical expressions consist of the following elements:
a) One or more linguistic elements in an expression from the source domain used as an expression in the target domain.
b) Optionally, some or other linguistic expression that designates the target domain involved in the mapping. Below are examples of metaphorical expressions in which the source domain represented by up ,rose, and high respectively as the domain designator.
I’m feeling up. My spirits rose.
You are in high spirits.
Thinking about her put me in high spirits.
The metaphorical expressions above show the mapping of the UP orientation onto emotional state. We also see that the DOWN orientation is mapped onto the emotional states in the following expressions:
I’m feeling down.
I’m depressed.
My spirits sank.
He is really low these days.
Examples of metaphorical expressions that allude to the level plane in the domain of vertical orientation as a source domain are:
He is level -headed.
Be level with me.
My presentation of data will inevitably appear to be repetitive. This, however, is deliberate. The purpose of the repetition is to show that a whole range of states: emotions, consciousness, wakefulness, asleep, economy, health, social stratification, etc all allude to the ontology of vertical orientation. I would like to emphasize the point that all the three points on the vertical orientation, that is, UP, LEVEL and DOWN are involved in the mapping to states. In the examples that are given below it will be observed that the ontology and epistemology of vertical Orientation is mapping onto the ontology and epistemology of states.
We can reclassify Lakoff and Johnson’s conceptual metaphors and their instantiations according to two categories, that is, those that are above level and those that are below level.
HAPPY IS UP: SAD IS DOWN
I’m feeling up.
We must also analyse the metaphorical expressions that have been listed as instantiations of the conceptual metaphor SAD IS DOWN. Assuming that calm, composed etc represent the norm for emotional state; then high, excited etc. will be above level and down, depressed etc. will be below level in the emotional state. The analysis reveals that the domain of vertical orientation is being mapped or projected onto the domain of emotions. The following examples illustrate the below level of the conceptual metaphor:
CONSCIOUS IS UP: UNCONSCIOUS IS DOWN
Lakoff and Johnson (1980) also present an analysis of the conceptual metaphor CONSCIOUS
IS UP: UNCONSCIOUS IS DOWN. The vertical orientation UP is mapped onto the target
domain of states, which is consciousness in the CONSCIOUS IS UP conceptual metaphor.
Below are analyses of some of the linguistic expressions.
A similar mapping of the vertical orientation domain ONTO the domain of states, that is,
UNCONSCIOUSNESS is seen in the following sentence:
HEALTH AND LIFE ARE UP: SICKNESS AND DEATH ARE DOWN
The conceptual metaphors HEALTH AND LIFE ARE UP: SICKNESS AND DEATH ARE DOWN involve the mapping of the ontology and epistemology of the vertical orientation domain onto the ontology and epistemology of states, particularly health. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) give a list of metaphorical expressions for which I have reconstructed the ontology and the epistemology of the mapping of this type of orientation metaphor. He is at the peak of his health.
HAVING CONTROL OR FORCE IS UP: BEING SUBJECT TO CONTROL OR FORCE IS DOWN
The orientational metaphors HAVING CONTROL OR FORCE IS UP: BEING SUBJECT TO CONTROL OR FORCE IS DOWN are an illustration of the mapping of the ontology and epistemology of vertical orientation onto the ontology and epistemology of states {power}. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) give us a list of metaphorical expressions, which are instantiations of the above orientational metaphors. Below is a reconstruction of the ontology and epistemology of the domains involved.
MORE IS UP: LESS IS DOWN
The orientation metaphors MORE IS UP: LESS IS DOWN illustrate the mapping of the
ontology and epistemology of the vertical orientation domain onto the ontology and epistemology of states for an example quantity, reading material and economics. A reconstruction of the ontology and epistemology of the domains involved in the metaphorical expressions that are instantiations of the conceptual metaphor reveals the mapping:
GOOD IS UP: BAD IS DOWN
The Orientational metaphor GOOD IS UP: BAD IS DOWN involves the following underlying domains: the vertical orientation domain (source) and state domain {economy} or {value}, (target). Lakoff and Johnson (1980:16) list a number of metaphorical expressions, which, they claim, are instantiations of the conceptual metaphor. The following analysis reveals the mapping of the ontology and epistemology of the vertical orientation domain onto ontology and epistemology of the state domain
From the examples above it would appear that there are three main positions in the ORIENTATION domain and in the STATES domain of these orientational conceptual metaphors; the norm or level position, and then either a position above the norm or a position below the norm. The norm position is neutral; it may have either or both positive or negative connotations. However, a position above and below the norm will have positive or negative connotations respectively.
Lakoff and Johnson (1980) only discuss the vertical (UP/DOWN) orientation and exclude the horizontal (FRONT/BACK) orientation. This omission means that a whole range of metaphors has been left out. The conceptual metaphors FRONT IS GOOD/BACK IS BAD is pervasive in English. My summary of the conceptual schema of the orientational metaphors reveals the metaphorical linguistic expressions that arise from this conceptual mapping. For instance when we hear someone saying: ‘He put on a good front’ or ‘I’m looking forward to seeing you’, we appreciate that these metaphorical expressions arise from the FRONT IS GOOD conceptual metaphor. When someone says: ‘He turned his back on me’, we realize that this linguistic expression arises from the conceptual metaphor BACK IS BAD.

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Container Metaphors

Lakoff and Johnson (1980) did not reconstruct the ontology and epistemology of the conceptual domains involved in the mapping in metaphorical linguistic expressions. Instead, they inferred the conceptual metaphors from the metaphorical expressions when they were analyzing the CONTAINER metaphors. They do not give an adequate schema or ontology of containers. If we start by explicating the ontology of containers, we will be able to see what the mapping of containment involves. This will also lead to an explication of the metaphorical expressions that arise from the ontology. The ontology of container metaphors is understood through the analysis of one-dimensional, two-dimensional and three-dimensional containment. It is on the basis of our experience with the concept of containment that we come to have container metaphors. Johnson (1987) claims that we are intimately conscious of our bodies as three-dimensional containers into which we put things (food, water, air) and out of which things emerge (food and water, wastes, air and blood and other things as well). Johnson (1987) maintains that the concept of containment is developed in us from birth in that we experience constant physical containment in our surroundings. For example, we experience going in and out of rooms. We experience putting objects into containers and so forth. We can represent the ontology of containers by means of the following diagrams:
Below is the reconstruction of the ontology of a one- dimensional container
One dimensional a line
It may have a beginning.
It may have an end.
The line may therefore be a bounded space.
A line may involve progression or direction.
A two dimensional container
Is a flat bounded space.
It has a width and a length.
Something came be inside or outside the bounded space.
A three- dimensional container
A three-dimensional container has delimited space with an inside and an outside through which things go in and out.
A three-dimensional container can become full or empty.
A three-dimensional container can only contain volume of matter relative to the space inside.
Three-dimensional containers can be closed off.
The following are examples which illustrate the mapping of the ontology and epistemology of
containment onto the ontology and epistemology of one dimensional containment.
One dimensional container
He is on course for completing his doctoral degree
Below are examples of the mapping of the ontology and epistemology of the domain containment onto the ontology and epistemology of the state domain.
Two-dimensional containers are typified by having a length and a width as shown in the diagram above. This is a flat bounded space. An example of such a container is a football field. We therefore, can talk of passing ‘through’ the field. That is, going from one end of the field through the middle to the other end of the field or we can talk of being ‘on’ the field, that is within the bounded space of the field or/and we can talk of being ‘outside’ the field, that is outside the bounded space of the field. Strangely enough, it would seem that two – dimensional containment is not involved in metaphorical mapping in English.
Three-dimensional container
An explication of the ontology of the three dimensional containment brings out a number of things. Take a look at the following three-dimensional figure:
Three-dimensional containers have length, width and height as shown in the diagram above. As a consequence of the three-dimensional space (this is presumably the most typical container) we can talk of putting something ‘in’ a box, going ‘out of’ or going ‘into’ a house. It is this ontology of containers that is mapped onto states, events and actions. Below are examples of metaphoric expressions that illustrate this.
You are in trouble.
We have entered the war.
He is out of contention for the presidency.

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CONTENTS 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ABSTRACT
CONTENTS PAGE
LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF TABLES
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background
1.2 Problem Definition
1.3 Objectives
1.4 Hypotheses
1.5 Significance of the study
1.6 Methodology
1.7 The Structure of the thesis
CHAPTER 2  A SURVEY OF CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE ON THE NATURE OF CONCEPTUAL METAPHORICAL MAPPING
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Directionality
2.3 What is the nature of the relation between conceptual domains?
2.4 What is the nature of the metaphorical mapping between conceptual domains?
2.5 Universal conceptual metaphors
2.6 Cultural Variation in conceptual metaphor
2.7 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3 CONCEPTUAL DOMAINS AND METAPHORICAL MAPPING IN ENGLISH
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Orientational Metaphors
3.3 Container Metaphors
3.4 The Event Structure Metaphor
3.5 Conclusion
CHAPTER 4 COMPARING BODY BASED CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS IN ENGLISH AND SHONA
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Orientational metaphors
4.3 Container Metaphors
4.4 Body Sensory Perceptions
4.5 Conclusion
CHAPTER 5  ECOLOGICAL FACTORS AS AN EXPLANATION FOR CONCEPTUAL METAPHOR SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES IN ENGLISH AND SHONA
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Event Structure metaphor
5.3 War
5.4 Objects
5.5 Money
5.6 Commodities
5.7 Cutting Instruments
5.8 Fashions
5.9 Plants
5.10 Resources
5.11 Conclusion
CHAPTER 6 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Summary
6.3 Conclusions
6.4 Recommendations
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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