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教育教学论文代写
概念隐喻理论在高中英语词汇教学中的应用研究
作者:李 娜 日期:2018/10/24 14:15:06 点击:
摘要

众所周知,词汇是语言丰富与否的“衡量器”。词汇反映着语言发展的状态,词汇越丰富,那么语言也就越丰富。词汇,作为构成语言的主要成分之一,是连接我们彼此的桥梁,同时也是整个世界传递我们思维的媒介。因此,在语言教学中词汇教学占有重要的地位。学好词汇可以提高学生使用英语的准确性。一些国内外学者从不同角度对这一领域进行了许多研究,并取得了很大的成就。然而,传统的词汇教学方法仍有很多缺陷,虽然教师和学生已经在词汇教学和习得方面花费了很多精力,但收效甚微。因为传统词汇教学方法只注重字面意思而忽略了认知方面的因素,学生们只是机械的死记硬背,并没有利用其他有效的词汇学习方法和策略可利用。因此,词汇学习一直以来是学生们的巨大挑战,同时,词汇教学也是教师们头疼的问题。

直到 20 世纪 80 年代,莱考夫和约翰逊在他们的著作《我们赖以生存的隐喻》一书中首次提出了概念隐喻理论。这是将概念隐喻原理应用到词汇教学中的先驱。他们认为隐喻是在日常生活中无处不在的,它不仅仅是一种修辞手法,更是人类的一种认知工具。概念隐喻的工作机制是跨域映射,人们可以借助原域概念理解目标域的概念。理解概念隐喻的工作机制,将对学生学习和理解英语词汇有很大提高。本文作者利用自己在高中实习机会,探索概念隐喻理论对高中学生英语词汇教学的影响,并提出了下面两个研究问题:

1. 将概念隐喻理论应用到高中英语词汇教学中是否比传统词汇教学方法更加有效的提高学生的词汇水平?

2. 将概念隐喻理论应用到英语词汇教学中能否增强学生们英语词汇学习的兴趣?

本文作者在以前学者研究的基础上,利用在葫芦岛实验高中高一年级实习期间展开了实证研究。作者随机抽取两个平行班共计 108 人,其中实验班 55 人,采

用概念隐喻理论进行词汇教学;控制班 53 人,采用传统词汇教学方法。本教学实

验为期 16 周。期间,两班均由同一位英语教师授课,英文课本完全相同。本实验的研究数据包括调查问卷、前测、后测以及访谈。作者将收集的实验数据输入到 SPSS 22.0 进行分析。通过对实验结果的对比和分析,发现将概念隐喻理论应用到英语词汇教学中后,学生们的词汇水平得到很大提高,学生们的学习兴趣也得到较大提升。

总之, 概念隐喻理论在高中英语词汇教学中的应用是可行并有效的。作者希望本次研究成果将对以后的研究提供一些建设性意见。

 

关键词 教育教学论文代写;概念隐喻理论;词汇教学; 兴趣; 高中生; 传统词汇教学法



Contents

Abstract i

Contents iv

Chapter One Introduction 1

1.1 Research background 1

1.2 Research significance and purposes 3

1.3 Organization of this thesis 4

Chapter Two Literature Review 6

2.1 The introduction of conceptual metaphor theory 6

2.1.1 The definition of conceptual metaphor theory 6

2.1.2 The working mechanism of conceptual metaphor theory 8

2.1.3 The classification of conceptual metaphor theory 11

2.1.4 The main features of conceptual metaphor theory 15

2.2 Overview of vocabulary teaching 17

2.2.1 Studies on vocabulary teaching abroad 18

2.2.2 Studies on vocabulary teaching at home 19

2.3 The application of conceptual metaphor theory to vocabulary teaching 21

2.3.1 Teaching polysemy with conceptual metaphor theory 21

2.3.2 Teaching idioms with conceptual metaphor theory 25

2.3.3 Teaching cultural implications with conceptual metaphor theory 27

2.4 Summary 30

Chapter Three Methodology 32

3.1 Research questions 32

3.2 Subjects 32

3.3 Instruments 33

3.3.1 Questionnaire 33

3.3.2 Tests 34

3.3.3 Interview 35

3.4 Procedure 35

3.4.1 The teaching procedure of EC 36

3.4.2 The teaching procedure of CC 41

3.5 Data Collection 44

3.6 Summary 44

Chapter Four Data Analysis and Discussion 46

4.1 Data analysis and discussion of the questionnaire in EC and CC 46

4.1.1 Comparison of the results between EC and CC in the pre-questionnaire 46

4.1.2 Comparison of the results between EC and CC in the post-questionnaire 50

4.1.3 Comparison of the results of the pre-questionnaire and post-questionnaire in CC 53

4.1.4 Comparison of the results of the pre-questionnaire and post-questionnaire in EC 56

4.2 Data analysis and discussion of the tests in EC and CC 58

4.2.1 Comparison of results between EC and CC in the pre-test 58

4.2.2 Comparison of results between EC and CC in the post-test 60

4.2.3 Comparison of the results of the pre-test and post-test in CC 62


4.2.4 Comparison of the results of the pre-test and post-test in EC 63

4.3 Analysis and discussion of interview 64

Chapter Five Conclusion 68

5.1 Major findings 68

5.2 Implications 69

5.3 Limitations 70

5.4 Suggestions for the further researches 71

Bibliography 72

Appendix I Questionnaire 78

Appendix II Pre-test Paper 80

Appendix III Post-test Paper 83

Appendix IV Interview Questions 86

Appendix V Scores of English Vocabulary Pre-test and Post-test 87

Acknowledgement 89

The list of the research papers published by the author 90

90

Chapter One Introduction

 

This is an empirical study on the application of conceptual metaphor theory to the English vocabulary teaching in senior high school. This chapter introduces the research background, the significance and purposes, as well as the outline of this study.

 

1.1 Research background

 

With the development of society and the advancement of technology, the requirements of language for human beings must be improved continuously in order to catch up the pace of modernization. Vocabulary, as one of the main elements consisting of language, plays a crucial role. Talking about the importance of vocabulary, Wilkins ever points  out that  “while without grammar, very little can  be conveyed,  without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed” (Wilkins, 1972: 11). Celce-Murcia & Rosensweig (1979: 242) says that “mastering the smallest quantity of language structure while with large quantity of vocabulary is more helpful in reading comprehension and basic language communication compared with mastering nearly all the language structure but small quantity of vocabulary”.

The phenomenon of one word with multi-meanings has close connection with the experience and cognition of human beings. McCarthy (1990: viii) points out that “ No matter how well the students learn grammar, no matter how successfully the sounds of a L2 are mastered, without words to express a wider range of meanings, communication in that language just cannot happen in any meaningful way”. All the above mentioned statements illustrate the importance of vocabulary in language learning and language communication.

Vocabulary is one of the most significant elements consisting of language learning and dominates a decisive role in foreign language teaching. How well a student mastering vocabulary affects the cultivation of the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation directly. Traditional vocabulary teaching methods include translation method, direct method, context method and root memory method which are based on classroom teaching, it views the connection between words and words meaning is totally arbitrary, the teachers explain the words meaning with corresponding Chinese meanings simply, teach the pronunciation, grammar, usage and do some

translation practice only. Few teachers research and understand metaphor theory on the basis of language teaching, they ignore the observation and explanation to vocabulary cognition, which leads to a limited understanding and application of metaphor to vocabulary acquisition. One of the disadvantages of teaching vocabulary without detailed explanation of word formation knowledge and cultural connotation knowledge is to force students to remember the English vocabulary by mechanically reciting, which takes a large quantity of time and energy but low efficiency. Therefore, although the students have studied English for years, vocabulary learning is still one of their headaches.

Fortunately, with the legend book named Metaphors We Live By written by Lakoff and Johnson being published in 1980s, it offers a new emerging perspective on the development and research of vocabulary teaching and learning. Lin (2002) says that it is a heated topic and key point to apply metaphor theory to promote vocabulary teaching and learning. Traditionally, metaphor is viewed as a matter of language, as a set of extraordinary or figurative linguistic expressions whose meaning is reducible to some set of literal propositions. It is Richards, who published a book named The Philosophy of Rhetoric, firstly proposes the cognitive function of metaphor and emphasizes “thought is metaphorical” (Richards. 1967: 94). From that time on, people begun to consider metaphor as a kind of cognitive mechanism instead of a kind of rhetoric device. Burke proposes that “metaphor is a device for seeing something in terms of something else” (Burke, 1945: 503). Ellis and Barkhuizen (2005: 313) define metaphor as “... a comparison between two dissimilar notions where one notion is to be understood in terms of the other notion”. Shu (2000) says that metaphor is an universal phenomenon and  it’s being  largely  used in  every moment.  Lan (2005) states that  the nature of conceptual metaphor is cognitive and the process of utilizing and creating metaphor is a course of creative thinking. Conceptual metaphor theory brings new vigor and vitality into vocabulary teaching and it is extremely meaningful.

Conceptual metaphor is the main mechanism for us to understand abstract concept and perform any kind of abstract thinking. Conceptual metaphor helps us to understand relatively abstract and irrational meanings by a more specific or a highly structured things and it is one of the most important methods to form polysemous words, and it exploits a new route to vocabulary  teaching. According  to this  theory, polysemous words, idioms and other cultural implications can be explained easily. Nevertheless, although teachers have noticed the importance of metaphor in vocabulary teaching, few

of them apply metaphor theory into the practice of vocabulary teaching.

 

1.2 Research significance and purposes

 

The present work is generally conducted in line with the theory of conceptual metaphor and apply this cognitive approach to English vocabulary teaching. Applying metaphor theory to vocabulary teaching can facilitate the ability to understand something new, to get familiar with abstract concept, to develop mind thinking (Wang Yin, 2007). “The launch of conceptual metaphor enables human beings to have a deep comprehension of thousands of metaphor expressions in our daily life” (Sun Yi, 2013: 56). Metaphor awareness deeply exists in human beings’ mind, as long as it is being activated, it will not only enlarge vocabulary efficiently, but also deepen the understanding and strengthen the application of metaphor based  on it’s rule. Many linguistics believe conceptual metaphor theory has intimate relationship with vocabulary acquisition and they insist the necessities to apply conceptual metaphor to vocabulary teaching. For example, Cameron and Low (1999point out that application of metaphor can facilitate students to renew and restore language information at words, clauses, sentences and even discourses. Guerrero and Villamil (2002: 95) point out that “we recognize metaphor not only because of its pervasiveness in the language teaching, but also because of its ability to capture the complex structures and its utility as a vehicle to reflect and consciously raise the awareness among educators.”

Researchers study on conceptual metaphor theory in China are influence by western linguistics. Recently, many Chinese teachers have transferred the priorities and attention of language teaching from grammar to vocabulary, in this case, the conclusive role of vocabulary has been successfully established. Conceptual metaphor theory is a brand new method to improve current vocabulary teaching in Chinese schools. Under the guidance of conceptual metaphor theory, teachers can help students have a deep comprehension on the cor-relationship between various meanings and cultural implications by a single word. Besides, it will be much easier for teachers to teach vocabulary and the students will be more interested in vocabulary learning and their vocabulary and expression memorization will be facilitated.

The first purpose of this thesis lies in the systematic and comprehensive introduction of conceptual metaphor theory which aims at taking conceptual metaphor theory as a theoretical framework and agrees with the perspective that in conceptual system, metaphor is a cross-domain mapping process

The second purpose lies in tracing conceptual metaphor method to English vocabulary learning, particularly polysemy, idiomatic expressions and cultural implications.

The third purpose is to draw more attention from teachers and students to apply conceptual metaphor theory to English vocabulary teaching and learning since it will improve and perfect the students’ metaphor competence and lexical competence.

Therefore, the author conducts an experiment to apply conceptual metaphor theory in the field of cognitive linguistics to teach vocabulary. This study will be functioned as a testing tool on cognitive linguistics and testified whether the application of conceptual metaphor theory can promote students’ vocabulary learning and enhance their learning interest.

 

1.3 Organization of this thesis

 

This thesis consists of five chapters.

The author starts from the general introduction in Chapter One, which composes of theoretical background of this study, the significance and purposes for conducting this research, ends with a thorough organization of this thesis.

Chapter Two is the literature review which is divided into five parts: the first part presents the review of conceptual metaphor theory, including the definition, the working mechanism, the classification and the main functions. The second part presents the theoretical knowledge and research of vocabulary teaching at home and abroad. The author discusses the relevant studies of conceptual metaphor theory to vocabulary teaching at home and abroad in the third part. The forth part presents the application of conceptual metaphor theory to vocabulary teaching. The last part summarizes the previous four sections.

Chapter Three is the research methodology. Five parts are mentioned, which are research questions, the subjects, instruments, experimental procedures and the data collection. The detailed teaching procedures with traditional teaching method and teaching with conceptual metaphor are well explained respectively.

Chapter Four is the main part of the whole thesis, which is the results and discussions. All the valid experimental data from questionnaire, pre-test and post-test and interview are well collected, analyzed and discussed in order to answer the research questions.

A tentative conclusion is reached in the final chapter, Chapter Five, where the

major findings, implications and limitations of the present research are showed, and put forward a few suggestive points for the future studies.

Chapter Two Literature Review

 

Famous cognitive linguistics Lakoff and Johnson built  the foundation of conceptual metaphor theory in their masterpiece The Metaphors We Live By in1980s, which arose a heated and fruitful discussion among the cognitive field. Conceptual metaphor theory focuses on cognitive activities of human beings, it marks metaphor research has transferred from the research on traditional figure of speech and semantics to a brand new cognitive field, which greatly accelerated the process of understanding the relationship among language, thinking and the real world. Many linguistics believe that metaphor is the most important part in linguistics and it can simplify vocabulary memorization. In recent years, more researchers starts to associate foreign language teaching with conceptual metaphor theory, especially vocabulary teaching.

 

2.1 The introduction of conceptual metaphor theory

 

Four sections will be reviewed in this part, including the definition, the working mechanism, the classification and main features of conceptual metaphor theory.

 

2.1.1 The definition of conceptual metaphor theory

 

“In the long history on metaphor study, it is the cognitive linguistics who have made a breakthrough. A significant landmark is the publication of Metaphors We Live By by Lakoff and Johnson in 1980” (Jiang Ling, 2008: 10), it represents the birth of conceptual metaphor theory. Liu mentions that the essence of metaphor is to understand another known metaphor by a cognitive known metaphor (Liu Hongyu: 2011). Metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language, but in thoughts and actions as well. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 5).

Cognitive linguistics are universally acknowledged to be the systematic way to facilitate metaphorical thinking since conceptual system decides the way we think and behave. “Considering our conceptual system plays a central role in defining our everyday reality, the way we think, what we have experienced and what we do everyday is very much a matter of metaphor” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 3). Ungerer & Schmid (2001: 114) hold that metaphor is a beneficial cognitive tool to concept an abstract

category. Mey (1993: 301) illustrates that metaphor is not only the way to comprehend cognitive abilities of human beings, but also a requisite to solve the difficulties in language comprehension and language acquisition. It is not difficult to figure out its trace since we understand the sentence “one reflection of our conceptual system is language”(Kövecses, 1986: 3). From Wen and Ye’s point of view, in conceptual layer, conceptual metaphor is innate and potential, it is not necessary for it to appear in language. Because the realization of language, conceptual metaphor is based on the metaphorical expressions or language. (Wen & Ye, 2007). That is to say, metaphor is a form of expression that exists in different conceptual relationships, at the same time, metaphor is the starting point and foundation of metaphorical expressions in language.

With a harsh  criticism of traditional  view of metaphor as “a device of poetic imagination” and “rhetorical flourish” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 3). Lakoff and Johnson offer their cognitive view that metaphor is “characterized by the conceptualization of one cognitive domain whose components  are more usually associated with another cognitive domain” (Taylor, 1989: 132-133). Yu (1998: 15) puts forward: metaphor is a mapping process  that a target domain maps from  a source domain, with epistemic correspondences and ontological correspondences entailed by the mapping.

Conceptual metaphor is defined as a cognitive mechanism includes source domain, target domain and mapping” (Lakoff & Jognson, 1980: 3). Jiang (2008: 11) puts forward: to be conceptual, metaphor permits us to understand one meaning in terms of another, which is a concept mapping from one domain source to another target source. We may take the source domain as some knowledge we have known already, take the target domain as some new knowledge that we are going to learn. The mapping process is the key connecting bridge between source domain and target domain. The mapping principle is on the basis of two similar domains, which is from the experience of people’s common life. Mapping includes projections mapped on the target domain through the source domain. Briefly, conceptual metaphor is a type of metaphor system which hides behind our daily language, meanwhile, it structures our daily conceptual system.

To have a deep understanding of conceptual metaphor, conceptual metaphor TIME IS MONEY is chosen as an example, time is understood as money, therefore, the phrases like spend time, waste time, afford time or save time are just as what we do for money. To elucidate the nature of conceptual metaphor in details, some other English daily expressions about the “time” are illustrated in the following:

I missed a lot of time because of being late. You have to arrange your time wisely.

Save some time for playing Pingpang. Is it worthy to spend time on it?

They don’t have any spare time for it.

It cost him a long time to fix the computer. I am running out of time.

We have invested much time on studying the problems.

Budget your time well if you want to study well.

(Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 7-8)

All the above mentioned sentences about TIME are specific metaphorical English expressions which include two domains: the source domain is MONEY while the target domain is TIME, resulting with both concrete meanings and abstract meanings have been utilized respectively. In other words, if we compare conceptual metaphor to “the sun”, the words used metaphorically will be “sunrays” which are given out by “the sun” (Sun Fang, 2009: 11). That is to say, the way we can understand, explore, understand and describe a new phenomenon or a new idea is beneficial from the powerful instrument, which is conceptual metaphor.

Conceptual metaphor fundamentally exists in our daily experience which enables us to structure the mapping process between two domains and influences the way we think, perceive and act. According to the statistics, about 70% of common language originates from metaphor concept. In our conceptual system, no matter on the perspective of thought or action, is definitely metaphorical in nature (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). The conceptual metaphor theory, as a basic cognitive method, is flexible to be applied to our daily life to enable us to conceptualize the abstract concepts by the concrete ones.

2.1.2 The working mechanism of conceptual metaphor theory

Lakoff and Johnson create a set of brand new terms in the period of studying conceptual metaphor. The core terms that are worthy to mention are source domain, target domain, mapping, idealized cognitive model and image schema instead of “tenor”, “vehicle” and “focus”. According to Lakoff and Johnson, the working mechanism of conceptual metaphor is a mapping process through conceptual domains. They believe that in the cognitive domains which include source domain and target domain, metaphor

is originated from the reflection of concepts. The source domain is a more concrete and physically experienced concept which is simple and specific, while the target domain is more abstract and nonphysical since human conceptual systems “contain mapping of inference patterns from typically more concrete domains to typically more abstract domains” (Yu Ning, 1998: 22).

In fact, the source domain is the conceptual domain which is what we refereed the origin of metaphorical expressions while the target domain is the conceptual domain which is what we refereed the application of metaphorical expressions.

Fancornnier (1997) holds that “mapping between two domains are the heart for the unique cognitive faculty to produce, transfer and process meaning for human beings”. But mappings are controlled by the Invariance Principle which is not “arbitrary”. According to the Invarance Principle proposed by Lakoff and Turner, “metaphorical mappings preserve the cognitive topology (i.e. the image-schema structure) of the source domain consistent with the inherent structure of the target domain”(Lakoff & Turner, 1989: 63).

Therefore, metaphor can be understood as a cross-domain mapping in the conceptual system. Take LOVE IS A JOURNEY as an example: “journey”, as the source domain is systematically mapped onto the target domain “life”.

The mapping relations are showing below in table 2.1:

 

Table 2.1 Mapping: Life is a journey

Source Domain Mapping Direction Target Domain

JOURNEY

LIFE

Travelers

Lovers

Departure

Birth

Initial situation

Personal endowment

Luggage

Personal problems

Setbacks

External difficulties

Different routes

Different choices

Distance

Duration

Distance traveled

Achievements

Destination

Goal

Termination

Death

(Source: This table is referred from Tian Tian, 2011, with some modifications)

The above table is a systematic cross-domain mapping that characterizes the metaphorical  expressions  in  language on  the basis  of the correspondences  between source domain (journey) and target domain (life). Lakoff & Turner (1989) believe that metaphor has its internal structures, every metaphor mapping includes the following process:

1. The slot in the schema of the source domain is mapped onto the slot in the target domain;

2. The relation in the source domain is mapped onto the target domain. E.g.: “a traveler reaches to a destination” can be mapped to “a person achieves his goal in life”.

3. The characteristic of the source domain is mapped onto the target domain. The setbacks or obstacles encounters in the journey is mapped onto the person’s difficulties he met in his life.

4. The knowledge in the source domain is mapped onto the target domain.

(Sun Yi, 2013: 57)

The transferring of the metaphorical meanings is based on the similarity between

the source domain and the target domain. “To function as a source domain for a metaphor, the domain must be understood independently from metaphor” (Lakoff, 1987: 276). That is: as long as the correspondences between the source domain and the target domain are activated, mapping can facilitate the comprehension of the target domain. Therefore, the mechanism of cross-domain mapping can be applicable to English vocabulary teaching.

2.1.3 The classification of conceptual metaphor theory

According to Lakoff and Johnson, metaphor is one of the most basic ways to recognize the world, therefore, it plays a significant role in molding thinking patterns and comprehending linguistic expressions. Based on the above mentioned cognitive functions, conceptual metaphor is divided into three different types, which are: structure metaphor, orientational metaphor and ontological metaphor.

Structure metaphor

Structure metaphor refers to “cases where one concept is metaphorically structured in terms of another”(Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 14). Since a systematic mapping exists between the structures of the source domain and the target domain, people understand the structure of the target domain by referring to the source domain’s. Normally, in structure metaphor, the meaning from a concrete field will be applied to an unfamiliar or abstract field in order to understand the abstract meaning (Li Yue, 2010). It permits us to comprehend an abstract subject matter by a relatively more concrete or more highly structured matter (Ortony, 1993: 245). To get a detailed understanding on this point, let’s analyze a typical daily expression: ARGUMENT IS A WAR an as example:

His claim is indefensible.

His team attacked all the weak points in the argument. Their criticisms are just right on target.

We demolished their argument.

She has never won any argument with me. You disagree? Okay, shoot.

(Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 5)

Obviously the words indefensible, attack, target, demolish, won, shoot etc. are used to describe WAR, but we can also describe it in the expression of ARGUMENT, it is the reason why these expressions are originated from structure metaphor ARGUMENT IS A WAR in which ARGUMENT is the target domain while WAR is the source domain.

Since ARGUMENT and WAR have something in common, when they mold a systematic way of discussing an argument on the aspects of battle, we can either win or lose an argument, the person who is arguing with is an opponent, we will attack his position and defend our own. For the same reason, metaphor ARGUMENT IS A JOURNEY and ARGUMENT IS A BUILDING highlight the attacking aspects on structure-side and progress-side of an argument respectively. Therefore, “structure metaphor is not only an  exquisite but also a sophisticated cognitive process” (Yan Shiqing, 2000: 42).

Orientational Metaphor

According to Lakoff and Johnson, orientational metaphor organizes a complete set of conceptual system with respect to each other instead of structuring one concept with another (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). We  name this kind of metaphor as orientational metaphor. Because orientational metaphors are closed to spatial orientations such as up-down, front-back, in-out, deep-shallow,  on-off, central-peripheral, etc., these expressions of spatial orientations come from the structural characters of our physical bodies and the functions they played in the physical environment.  That is to say, orientational metaphor is based on the interaction between human beings and natural environment. People map the concrete spatial concept to emotions, physical conditions, quantities, social status etc. and form a large quantities of language expressions with abstract concept. In orientational concept, the source domain and target domain have a nature of antonyms or counterparts.

The most typical and common orientational metaphors are HAPPY IS UP, SAD IS DOWN, HEALTHY IS UP, SICKNESS IS DOWN, HIGH STATUS IS UP, LOW

STATUS IS DOWN. These orientational metaphors and the related language are neither accidental nor random, but with practical material, social and cultural foundations. A large numbers of facts prove that most of the metaphors are constructed by referring to spacial concepts, which explains the way how human beings locate themselves in the world.

Lots of expressions can be easily conveyed with the help of orientational metaphor.

For example:

HAPPY IS UP; SAD IS DOWN

We are feeling up.

Thinking about her always gives me a lift. The teacher boosts my spirits

He is depressed.

The boat is sinking down.

Her spirit sank when she is out.

CONSCIOUSNESS IS UP; UNCONSCIOUSNESS IS DOWN

Wake up. Get up.

She is under hypnosis. She fell asleep.

(Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 11-12)

In the book Metaphor We Live By, Lakoff and Johnson mentioned the following features of orientational metaphors:

● A large quantities of fundamental concepts are derived from at least one orientational metaphors.

● Every orientational metaphor has it’s own internal and external systematicity which makes the definition of coherence.

● Orientational metaphors are not assigned randomly.

● Under some circumstances, orientationalization is too essential to figure out any other alternative metaphors that can structure the concept.

● Orientational metaphors offer big possible basis to people’s physical and cultural experience.

(Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 17-19)

Ontological Metaphor

According to Lakoff and Johnson, ontological metaphor is “ways of viewing events, activities, emotions, ideas, etc. as entities and substances” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 26). They think most of conceptual systems of human beings are on the basis of ontological metaphor. It not only enables people to conceptualize the subjects, experience and progress, assign their specific physical properties, but also enables people to see the delineated structure more sharply. By regarding the experience of human beings as entities, we can denote them, categorize them, group them and even quantity  them. Entity  metaphors, container metaphors and substance metaphors are three sub-categorizations of ontological metaphors. In  which, container metaphor is regarded as the most typical one. Lakoff and Johnson think that container metaphors originated from the truth that people always regard their bodies as containers, but with limited surface and there are some substances usually come in and out of the containers.

Furthermore, people usually  treat themselves as  independent entities  from  the surroundings, but their everyday activities are closely related to the entities coming out of containers. Therefore, everyone is a container both inside and outside.

Ontological metaphors are developed based on the knowledge of entities, especially based on our body. Let’s take “MIND IS A MACHINE an as example:

1. Their brain are a little rusty today.

2. Mike broke down.

3. We must grind out a solution for her today.

(Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 30) MIND, as an invisible and abstract concept, is conceptualized in accordance with

MACHINE, which is a tangible and concrete concept. From here, MIND can operate and turn as an entity-machine.

As mentioned by Lakoff and Johnson, “events and actions are conceptualized metaphorically as objects, activities as substances, states as containers. ”(Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 30). For instance:

1. Whenever you have a good idea, practice capturing it in words.

2. There are many farmlands in China

3. The taxi is coming into the view.

(Sun Yi, 2013: 68)

From the above examples, we can learn that the concept can be mapped onto other objects like houses, jungles, fields, areas, etc., even the intangible, abstract activities. For example: HE IS IN LOVE. LOVE works as a container. WE ARE OUT OF TROUBLE. TROUBLE serves as a container. When people get out of trouble, it means they walk out of a container.

The following examples can be found in our daily expressions:

(1) Visual field as the container

When an area (land, ground. etc.) comes into your visual, your visual limits the boundary of this area. Considering the physical space with boundary is a container, the connection between our visual and the physical space with boundary will produce the metaphor :VISUAL FIELD IS A CONTAINER.

For example:

The birds disappear from our visual. We could see the trains from our view. She is out of sight quickly.

 

(2) Activities as the container.

As activities can be regarded as containers, whenever people join any kinds of activities, it means they are in the containers. On the contrary, they are out of containers.

For example:

Will the teacher join the race tomorrow? How can they enter?

I am out of the game.

(3) Conditions as the container

State, spirit, mood can be regarded as containers. Being in the containers means you are in the condition, on the contrary, you are out of condition.

He is in his bad mood. She is out of trouble.

The machine is not in good condition.

( Wu Yanting, 2009: 34-35)

 

2.1.4 The main features of conceptual metaphor theory

 

Pervasiveness and systematicness are the two main features of conceptual metaphor.

Pervasiveness

According to Lakoff and Johnson, “metaphor keeps a close relation with our behaviors and minds, at the same time, it is a type of language phenomenon” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 3). Many scholars both at home and abroad are awared of the pervasiveness of conceptual metaphor. Reddy points out that “A conservative estimate would thus be that, of the entire metalingual apparatus of the English language, at least seventy percent is directly, visibly and graphically based on the conduit metaphor” (Reddy,1993: 298). Chen (2006) states that metaphor is pervasive, even exists in spoken language. For example, in  American news program, there will be a metaphorical expression in every 25 words. Lakoff and Johnson analyze many daily utterances aiming at collecting the ubiquitous phenomenon of metaphor and they point out that “a majority of our daily conceptual system is metaphorical in nature” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 3). Richards (1936) illustrates that the metaphor exists in everyday life and each three sentences will include a metaphor. Shu (2000) says that the more abstract of the philosophical language means with the more metaphorical thinking.

During the communication with each other, we use metaphors frequently

consciously or unconsciously. For example: the head of a department, pinky mood, family tree, on the rocks, ect.

Lakoff and Johnson (1980) emphasis that conceptual metaphor is one of the major elements consisting of cognition language, and it creates positive effects on the producing of creative thinking, people and express out the creative thinking by language and thus enrich our language. For example: LOVE IS A JOURNEY.

Since this conceptual metaphor has constructed in our thoughts, we can talk about LOVE in terms of JOURNEY. The concepts can control our thoughts and daily functioning, even penetrate to many ordinary details. Thus, many abstract concepts are understood as  animate entities, objects, etc.  For example, the conceptual metaphor: IDEAS ARE OBJECTS, IDEAS ARE ANIMATE BEINGS OR PERSONS. Although

metaphors are everywhere, they are not appear randomly as people think, in fact, they are constructed in a more systematic way.

Systematicness

Conceptual metaphor is consisted of many metaphorical expressions, these different conceptual metaphors are from a system which can organize our thinking and action, that’s the reason why metaphor is systematic. In this case, people can systematically express their metaphorical expressions. Lakoff points out that metaphor possesses the feature of systematicness. Systematicness reflects the cognitive regularity of human beings.

Firstly, conceptual metaphor performs an internal transfer function in the entire system, and this systematic feature enables us to construct a transition from the source domain to the target domain. Every conceptual metaphor controls and leads a system of corresponding between the source domain and the target domain. For example: LOVE IS A JOURNEY. The principle to understand LOVE in terms of JOURNEY is clarified as “a metaphorical scenerio” (Lakoff, 1994: 46). It presents that the lovers have the same life targets as the travelers have their destinations on a journey. The journey is full of challenges and obstacles. The knowledge and entities from the source domain LOVE are mapped onto the target domain JOURNEY systematically. Therefore, the conceptual metaphor produces a complicated system with the common correspondences between the two domains.

Secondly, conceptual metaphors are closely connected to each other in a well organized way, sometimes with hierarchical structures, sometimes with parallel way. For example:


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