For this reason, most people think they can get along perfectly well without metaphor. We have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action.
Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature. The concepts that govern our thought are not just matters of the intellect. They also govern our everyday functioning, down to the most mundane details. Our concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Our conceptual system thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. If we are right in suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we think, what we experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor.
But our conceptual system is not something we are normally aware of. In most of the little things we do every day, we simply think and act more or less automatically along certain lines. Just what these lines are is by no means obvious.
One way to find out is by looking at language. Since communication is based on the same conceptual system that we use in thinking and acting, language is an important source of evidence for what that system is like. Primarily on the basis of linguistic evidence, we have found that most of our ordinary conceptual system is metaphorical in nature. And we have found a way to begin to identify in detail just what the metaphors are that structure how we perceive, how we think, and what we do.
To give some idea of what it could mean for a concept to be metaphorical and for such a concept to structure an everyday activity, let us start with the concept argument and the conceptual metaphor argument is war. This metaphor is reflected in our everyday language by a wide variety of expressions:. Your claims are indefensible. He attacked every weak point in my argument. His criticisms were right on target.
It gives us a view of problems as things that never disappear utterly and that cannot be solved once and for all. These metaphors conceptually link the domain of abstract concepts to the domain of concepts that are closer to our everyday bodily experiences. As shown above with the fake gun example, objects are classified not by objective, inherent properties but by interactional properties that are informed by what kind of relationship we have with those objects. As a Christian, this helps me better understand the way people think about many of the more abstract concepts within faith. But it is clear that the first statement is the most immediate. There were four place settings, three with orange juice and one with apple juice. To get an idea of how metaphorical expressions in everyday language can give us insight into the metaphorical nature of the concepts that structure our everyday activities, let us consider the metaphorical concept TIME IS MONEY as it is reflected in contemporary English.
I demolished his argument. I've never won an argument with him. You disagree? Okay, shoot! If you use that strategy , he'll wipe you out.
He shot down all of my arguments. It is important to see that we don't just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can actually win or lose arguments. We see the person we are arguing with as an opponent. We attack his positions and we defend our own. We gain and lose ground. We plan and use strategies. If we find a position indefensible, we can abandon it and take a new line of attack.
Many of the things we do in arguing are partially structured by the concept of war.
Though there is no physical battle, there is a verbal battle, and the structure of an argument—attack, defense, counterattack, etc. It is in this sense that the argument is war metaphor is one that we live by in this culture; it structures the actions we perform in arguing. Try to imagine a culture where arguments are not viewed in terms of war, where no one wins or loses, where there is no sense of attacking or defending, gaining or losing ground. Imagine a culture where an argument is viewed as a dance, the participants are seen as performers, and the goal is to perform in a balanced and aesthetically pleasing way.
In such a culture, people would view arguments differently, experience them differently, carry them out differently, and talk about them differently.
Metaphors We Live By is a book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson published in Content. Conceptual metaphor and a detailed examination of the. The now-classic Metaphors We Live By changed our understanding of metaphor and its role in language and the mind. Metaphor, the authors explain, is a.
But we would probably not view them as arguing at all: they would simply be doing something different. It would seem strange even to call what they were doing "arguing. This is an example of what it means for a metaphorical concept, namely, argument is war, to structure at least in part what we do and how we understand what we are doing when we argue. The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another.
Metaphor and Cultural Coherence 6. Ontological Metaphors 7. Personification 8. Metonymy 9. Challenges to Metaphorical Coherence The Grounding of Structural Metaphors Causation: Partly Emergent and Partly Metaphorical The Coherent Structuring of Experience Metaphorical Coherence It is not that arguments are a subspecies of war. Arguments and wars are different kinds of things—verbal discourse and armed conflict—and the actions performed are different kinds of actions.
But argument is partially structured, understood, performed, and talked about in terms of war. The concept is metaphorically structured, the activity is metaphorically structured, and, consequently, the language is metaphorically structured. Moreover, this is the ordinary way of having an argument and talking about one.
The normal way for us to talk about attacking a position is to use the words "attack a position. The metaphor is not merely in the words we use—it is in our very concept of an argument. The language of argument is not poetic, fanciful, or rhetorical; it is literal. We talk about arguments that way because we conceive of them that way—and we act according to the way we conceive of things. The most important claim we have made so far is that metaphor is not just a matter of language, that is, of mere words.
We shall argue that, on the contrary, human thought processes are largely metaphorical. This is what we mean when we say that the human conceptual system is metaphorically structured and defined. Metaphors as linguistic expressions are possible precisely because there are metaphors in a person's conceptual system. Therefore, whenever in this book we speak of metaphors, such as argument is war, it should be understood that metaphor means metaphorical concept.
Arguments usually follow patterns; that is, there are certain things we typically do and do not do in arguing. The fact that we in part conceptualize arguments in terms of battle systematically influences the shape arguments take and the way we talk about what we do in arguing. Because the metaphorical concept is systematic, the language we use to talk about that aspect of the concept is systematic. It is no accident that these expressions mean what they mean when we use them to talk about arguments.
A portion of the conceptual network of battle partially characterizes the concept of an argument, and the language follows suit. Since metaphorical expressions in our language are tied to metaphorical concepts in a systematic way, we can use metaphorical linguistic expressions to study the nature of metaphorical concepts and to gain an understanding of the metaphorical nature of our activities. To get an idea of how metaphorical expressions in everyday language can give us insight into the metaphorical nature of the concepts that structure our everyday activities, let us consider the metaphorical concept TIME IS MONEY as it is reflected in contemporary English.
You're wasting my time. This gadget will save you hours. I don't have the time to give you. How do you spend your time these days? That flat tire cost me an hour. I've invested a lot of time in her. I don't have enough time to spare for that. You're running out of time. You need to budget your time. Put aside some time for ping pong.
Is that worth your while? Do you have much time left? He's living on borrowed time. You don't use your time profitably. I lost a lot of time when I got sick. Thank you for your time.