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Natural Metaphors: Metaphor Resides in Thought as Well as Words/

  1. Jul 27, 2008 #1
    Natural Metaphors: Metaphor Resides in Thought as Well as Words/

    A natural metaphor, which is “motivated by the structure of our experience”, consists of two conceptual domains, a source domain is mapped into the target domain. “Metaphor resides in thought not just in words…We have to distinguish metaphorical thought from the language that expresses that thought.”

    As an example let’s examine the metaphors MORE IS UP and LESS IS DOWN.

    Gas prices are rising. The cost of crude keeps going up and stocks prices are going down. Bank stocks have fallen and sales dropped last month. The mood of the citizens couldn’t be lower.

    The source domain in this case is VERTICALITY and the target domain is QUANTITY.

    The questions to be answered are:

    1) Why is VERTICALITY appropriate as a source?
    2) Why is MORE mapped into UP rather than into DOWN?

    To function as a source domain the contents of the domain must be independently understandable. VERTICALITY is independently understandable, perhaps because of gravity. When I make corn bread and measure the appropriate amount of milk I recognize the relationship of up and more instinctively; MORE equals UP and LESS equals DOWN. Details of this metaphor make sense because of our basic experience.

    Let us try the metaphor PURPOSES ARE DESTINATIONS:

    From childhood we develop an intention of getting from one location to another, we have the purpose of getting from A to B. In this case there exists an identity between the domain of purpose and the physical domain. There is motion from location A to location B motivated by desire.

    “This pairing in our experience is not metaphorical; it is a special case of achieving a purpose where that involves movement…and is absolutely vital to our everyday functioning in the physical environment.”

    The SOURCE-PATH-GOAL schema one the most important structures facilitating our daily functioning. It is pervasive in experience, thus well understood, simple, and well demarcated for these reasons. There is an experiential correlation between the source and target domain.

    “The point of this: Schemas that structure our bodily experience preconceptually have a basic logic. Preconceptual structural correlations in experience motivate metaphors that map that logic into abstract domains. Thus, what has been called abstract reason has a bodily basis in our everyday physical functioning. It is this that allows us to base a theory of meaning and rationality on aspects of bodily functioning.”

    Quotes from “Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind” by George Lakoff
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2008 #2
    Yeah I totally agree.

    The brain has a funny way of not rigidly categorizing the things around it.
    It makes connections between similar things, and then they become new ways of using basic logic.

    It's the way the brain associates certain feelings and thoughts with a particular event.
    I think this is pretty much the basis of our conscious existence, because if we didn't associate and abstract things, who knows what we would be.
    Black means dark, evil, or at the very least not white, which is more good and heavenly, when we seed a soft cushy bed we want to lie down in it, these abstract domains are correlated to the physical things we do, and how they physically alter our perception of them.
    We have to /learn/ all these things through experience, and build up an abstract world in our heads, where things actually mean something to us.
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