10 June 2007


Cognitive Linguistics and Conceptual Metaphor Theory?
The fundamental tenet of Conceptual Metaphor Theory is that metaphor operates at the level of thinking. Metaphors link two conceptual domains, the ‘source’ domain and the ‘target’ domain. The source domain consists of a set of literal entities, attributes, processes and relationships, linked semantically and apparently stored together in the mind. These are expressed in language through related words and expressions, which can be seen as organized in groups resembling those sometimes described as ‘lexical sets’ or ‘lexical fields’ by linguists. The ‘target’ domain tends to be abstract, and takes its structure from the source domain, through the metaphorical link, or ‘conceptual metaphor’. Target domains are therefore believed to have relationships between entities, attributes and processes which mirror those found in the source domain. At the level of language, entities, attributes and processes in the target domain are lexicalized using words and expressions from the source domain. These words and expressions are sometimes called ‘linguistic metaphors’ or ‘metaphorical expressions’ to distinguish them from conceptual metaphors.