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Metaphors We Live By. George Lakoff & Mark Johnston, The University of Chicago Press, 1980. Our ordinary conceptual system is fundamentally metaphorical in nature. Language for the metaphorical concept that “argument is war” – . Attacking a position. Gaining ground.

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Metaphors we live by l.jpg
Metaphors We Live By

George Lakoff & Mark Johnston,

The University of Chicago Press, 1980



Language for the metaphorical concept that argument is war l.jpg
Language for the metaphorical concept that “argument is war” –

  • Attacking a position.

  • Gaining ground.

  • Shooting down

    your opponent.

  • Winning; loosing.


Consider the systematic metaphorical concept that time is money l.jpg
Consider the systematic metaphorical concept that “time is money.”

Will we waste it, save it, or spend it?


Highlighting and hiding your assumptions may be showing l.jpg
Highlighting and hiding – that “time is money.” your assumptions may be showing

  • Consider the “conduit metaphor,” a complex

    metaphor for language about language.

    • Ideas (or meanings) are objects.

    • Linguistic expressions are containers.

    • Communication is sending.


Slide6 l.jpg

What are the assumptions behind the language of the conduit metaphor?

It’s hard to get that idea across to him.

I gave you that idea.

Your reasons came through to us.

It’s difficult to put my ideas into words.

His words carry little meaning.

Try to pack more thought into fewer words.


The conduit metaphor assumes that l.jpg
The conduit metaphor assumes that – metaphor?

  • Words and sentences have meanings in themselves, independent of any context

    or speaker.


Orientational metaphors or i m feeling up today l.jpg
Orientational metaphors metaphor? or “I’m feeling up today.”

  • Happy is up; sad is down.

  • Conscious is up; unconscious is down.

  • Health and life are up; sickness and death are down.


Ontological metaphors the nature of being l.jpg
Ontological metaphors – metaphor? the nature of being

The mind is a machine.

The wheels turning now!

The mind is a brittle object.

He’s cracking up!


Slide10 l.jpg
More . . . . metaphor?

  • Ideas are people.

  • Ideas are plants.

  • Ideas are food.

  • Ideas are products.

  • Ideas are commodities.

  • Ideas are resources.

  • Ideas are money.

  • Ideas are cutting instruments.

  • Ideas are fashions.


And still a more l.jpg
And still (a)more . . . . metaphor?

  • Love is a physical force.

  • Love is madness.

  • Love is magic.

  • Love is war.


Personification animating an object or entity l.jpg
Personification - metaphor? animating an object or entity

  • This paper will demonstrate my theory.

  • Inflation is eating up our profits.


Which human characteristics will you give your object l.jpg
Which human characteristics metaphor? will you give your object?

  • Inflation has attacked the foundation of our economy.

  • Inflation has pinned us to the wall.

  • Inflation has robbed me of my savings.

  • Our biggest enemy right now is inflation.


This personification casts inflation as a combatant l.jpg
This personification casts metaphor? “inflation” as a combatant.

George Bellows, A Stag at Sharkey’s (1917)

The San Diego Museum of Art


Metonymy synecdoche figures of substitution l.jpg
Metonymy & Synecdoche – metaphor? figures of substitution

“So, she vanquished them, horse and foot . . . .”

William Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily”

“We’ll always have Paris.”

Humphrey Bogart to Ingrid Bergman,Casablanca


So where will you be when the chips are down l.jpg
So, where will you be metaphor? when the chips are down?

If your life, metaphorically, is a game of chance,

you’ll need an ace in the hole.


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