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STRUCTURAL AND ONTOLOGICAL METAPHORS OF “LIFE” IN TYPICAL SHORT STORIES IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A. THESIS

STRUCTURAL AND ONTOLOGICAL METAPHORS
OF “LIFE” IN TYPICAL SHORT STORIES IN
ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE
ẨN DỤ CẤU TRÚC VÀ BẢN THỂ VỀ CUỘC SỐNG Ở
MỘT SỐ TRUYỆN NGẮN ĐIỂN HÌNH TRONG TIẾNG
ANH VÀ TIẾNG VIỆT

NGUYỄN THỊ HỒNG ANH

Field: English Language
Code: 60220201

Hanoi, 2017


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING

HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A. THESIS

STRUCTURAL AND ONTOLOGICAL METAPHORS
OF “LIFE” IN TYPICAL SHORT STORIES IN
ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE
ẨN DỤ CẤU TRÚC VÀ BẢN THỂ VỀ CUỘC SỐNG Ở
MỘT SỐ TRUYỆN NGẮN ĐIỂN HÌNH TRONG TIẾNG
ANH VÀ TIẾNG VIỆT

NGUYỄN THỊ HỒNG ANH

Field: English Language
Code: 60220201

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. HOANG TUYET MINH

Hanoi, 2017


DECLARATION
I hereby, certify the thesis entitled ―an investigation into conceptual
metaphors denoting ―life‖ in English and Vietnamese short stories from 1975 to
1991‖ is the result of my own research for the degree of Master of Ha Noi
Open University. The thesis has not been submitted for any degree at any other
universities or institutions. I agree that the origin of mypaper deposited in the
library can be accessible for the purposes of study and research.
Hanoi, 2017

Nguyễn Thị Hồng Anh

Approved by
SUPERVISOR

Assoc. Prof. Dr. HOANG TUYET MINH

Date:……………………



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This thesis is not solely my efforts, but, in fact, contains many
contributions of individuals to whom I would like to express my gratitude.
First of all, I am deeply indebted to my supervisor, Assoc. Prof. Dr.
HOANG TUYET MINH, for all her support and encouragement over the past
few months and for her valuable comments and advice on the study. Without her
generous help, this study could not have been completed.
Secondly, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Post-Graduate
lecturers as well as officers working at Faculty of Graduate Studies HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY for their great help and numerous suggestions
concerning this thesis.
Thirdly, I want to extend my special thanks to my colleagues working
at Faculty of English - HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY for their help and
cooperation during my research. I am also grateful to my close friends who
encouraged me a lot when I was conducting my research.
Finally, millions of thanks go to my beloved family for their love,
care and support during my MA course, especially the fulfillment of the thesis.


ABSTRACT
Metaphors have been a topic for studies since as early as more than 2000
years ago. Metaphors have attracted quite a number of researchers who are
interested in linguistics, rhetorics, literary critics, etc. Over centuries, there have
been uncountable studies that focus on discovering in depth the nature and
characteristics of metaphors. Simply speaking, metaphors can be understood as
comparison and replacement. Metaphors are commonly seen as the change in the
names of objects, entities…based on the similarities between them. However, in
cognitive lingustics, metaphors are considered as important instruments for
conceptualization of abstract concepts in human mind. It is defined as
understanding one abstract conceptual domain (target domain in terms of another
concrete conceptual domain domain) source the concept of life has been one of the
most common target domains, which hard is to fully comprehend without
establishing a set of mappings, ie. a set of systematic correspondences, between this
ted notion and other better-known one. Therefore, this study attempts to probe into
the structural and ontological metaphors of ―life‖ in typical short stories in English
and Vietnamese from the perspective of cognitive linguistics. Based on a relatively
considerable number of collected data, the author tries to investigate the similarities
and differences in the use of these conceptual metaphors in both languages, with the
hope to contribute a part to the process of foreign language teaching and learning,
and translation practice.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
DECLARATION ........................................................................................................i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..................................................................................... ii
ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................. iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ........................................................................................ iv
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES ........................................................................ vii
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ............................................................................1
1.1. Rationale for the study .........................................................................................1
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study .........................................................................2
1.2.1. Aims of the study ..............................................................................................2
1.2.2. Objectives of the study ......................................................................................2
1.3. Research questions ...............................................................................................2
1.4. Methods of the study ............................................................................................2
1.5. Scope of the study ................................................................................................3
1.6. Significance of the study ......................................................................................3
1.7. Design of the study..............................................................................................3
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................4
2.1. Previous studies ....................................................................................................4
2.2. Overview of cognitive ..........................................................................................6
2.2.1. Cognitive Science..............................................................................................6
2.2.2. Cognitive Linguistics ........................................................................................7
2.2.3. Cognitive Semantics..........................................................................................8
2.2.4. Metaphor ...........................................................................................................9
2.2.4.1. The traditional view of metaphors .................................................................9
2.2.4.2. Metaphors in the Cognitive Linguistic View ...............................................10
2.2.5. Short stories .....................................................................................................21
2.2.5.1. English short stories .....................................................................................23
2.2.5.2. Vietnamese short stories ..............................................................................25
CHAPTER 3: CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS OF “LIFE” IN TYPICAL
SHORT STORIES IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE.
3.1. Conceptual metaphors of ―Life‖ ........................................................................27
3.1.1. Conceptual metaphor of life in typical short stories in English ......................27
3.1.1.1. LIFE IS AN ENTITY...................................................................................27
3.1.1.2. LIFE IS A JOURNEY ..................................................................................29


3.1.1.3. LIFE IS A MACHINE .................................................................................31
3.1.1.4. LIFE IS A CONTAINER .............................................................................32
3.1.1.5. LIFE IS A WAR...........................................................................................34
3.1.1.6. LIFETIME IS PASSING OF TIME ............................................................35
3.1.1.7. LIFE IS A PAIN...........................................................................................37
3.1.1.8. LIFE IS A STORY .......................................................................................37
3.1.1.9. LIFE IS A GAME ........................................................................................37
3.1.1.10. LIFE IS A PERSONAL POSSESSION.....................................................38
3.1.1.11. LIFE IS A PERSON...................................................................................39
3.1.2. Conceptual metaphor of life in typical short stories in Vietnamese ...............40
3.1.2.1. LIFE IS AN ENTITY...................................................................................40
3.1.2.2. LIFE IS A JOURNEY ..................................................................................42
3.1.2.3. LIFE IS A MACHINE .................................................................................43
3.1.2.4. LIFE IS A CONTAINER .............................................................................44
3.1.2.5. LIFE IS A WAR...........................................................................................44
3.1.2.6. LIFETIME IS PASSING OF TIME ............................................................45
3.1.2.7. LIFE IS A PAIN...........................................................................................46
3.1.2.8. LIFE IS A STORY .......................................................................................47
3.1.2.9. LIFE IS A GAME ........................................................................................48
3.1.2.10. LIFE IS A PERSONAL POSSESSION.....................................................48
3.1.2.11. LIFE IS A PERSON...................................................................................49
3.2. Similarities and differences between the structural and ontological metaphors of

―life‖ in typical short stories in English and Vietnamese………………………….49
3.2.1. Similarities ......................................................................................................54
3.2.2. Differences ......................................................................................................57
3.4. Summary ............................................................................................................59
CHAPTER 4: COMMON ERRORS MADE BY LEARNERS OF ENGLISH
WHEN USING METAPHORS OF "LIFE" ........................................................60
4.1. Survey questionnaires ........................................................................................60
4.1.1 Participants .......................................................................................................60
4.1.2 Questionnaires ..................................................................................................60
4.1.3 Procedure ..........................................................................................................61
4.2. Common errors made by learners of English when using metaphors denoting
"life" ..........................................................................................................................61


4.2.1 Common errors made by learners of English...................................................61
4.2.2. Causes of committing errors ...........................................................................66
4.3 Suggestions for teachers, learners and translators ..............................................67
4.3.1. Suggestions for teachers ..................................................................................67
4.3.2. Suggestions for learners ..................................................................................67
4.3.3. Suggestions for translators ..............................................................................67
4.4 Summary .............................................................................................................68
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION ...............................................................................69
5.1 Concluding remarks ............................................................................................69
5.2 Limitation of the study ........................................................................................69
5.3 Suggestions for further study ..............................................................................70
REFERENCES
APPENDIX 1
APPENDIX 2
APPENDIX 3
APPENDIX 4

ENGLISH & VIETNAMESE SHORT STORIES
ENGLISH CORPUS ANALYZED IN THE STUDY
VIETNAMESE CORPUS ANALYZED IN THE STUDY
THE CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS OF ―LIFE‖ IN TYPICAL

APPENDIX 5

SHORT STORIES IN ENGLISH
THE CONCEPTUAL METAPHORS OF ―LIFE‖ IN TYPICAL
SHORT STORIES IN VIETNAMESE

APPENDIX 6
APPENDIX 7

QUESTIONS FOR NATIVE SPEAKER 1
QUESTIONS FOR NATIVE SPEAKER 2


LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
Number of
Tables

Name of Tables

Page

Table 2.1

Metaphorical Mapping between Conceptual Domains

15

Table 2.2

Metaphorical Mapping between Conceptual Domains

15

Table 3.1

A summary of conceptual metaphors of ―life‖ in typical short
stories in English and Vietnamese

29

Table 3.2

Frequency of Conceptual Metaphors of ―LIFE‖ in typical
short stories in English and Vietnamese

52

Frequency of Conceptual Metaphors of ―LIFE‖ in typical
Figure 3.2.1

short stories in English

54

Frequency of Conceptual Metaphors of ―LIFE‖ in typical
Figure 3.2.2

short stories in Vietnamese

55

Table 3.3

A Comparison of Conceptual Metaphors of ―Life‖ in typical
short stories in English and Vietnamese

60

Table 4.1

Grading scale

63

Table 4.2

The test score

63

Table 4.3

Results of questions from number 1 to 20

65

Table 4.4

The most common errors

66


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale for the study
It is obvious that English has become an important part not only in
communication but also in many other aspects of life. Hence, one of the most
important factors for developing countries like Vietnam to increase the integration
process is that the teaching of English for the young generations should be much
invested and become the top policy. However, how to study it well and how to
master it is still a difficult question for many learners.
In recent years, cognitive linguistics has been considered as an
increasingly essential

discipline

in

language studies. One

of

the

most

important branches of cognitive linguistics is cognitive semantics which
emphasizes the importance of metaphor in language. Metaphor –a perceptual
conceptualizing tool, involves human cognitive processes, hence it helps human
understand the changing world around. In other words, conceptual metaphors help
us to comprehend a relatively abstract concept thanks to a more concrete concept.
Life has been one of the most inspirational and enchanting topics for
thousands of writers across the time. Although the concept of life is commonly
mentioned in our daily life or everyday conversations, its definition or true meaning
cannot be described by only one or two words. Life is the mixture of everything the
mixture of happiness and sadness, success and failure, comfort and pain,
encouragement and frustration, opportunities and obstacles, love and hatred, relief
and sorrow, and struggle and surrender. Therefore, it is hard to fully comprehend
the concept of life itself without any connection with other concrete notions or
tangible objects. To illustrate that, imagine life is a game. People are considered as
players, who need to play as skillfully and fairly as they can with the aim to win, or
acquire their own goals in life. If the concept of life is perceived in terms of a
journey, people are considered as travellers trying their best to overcome a
impediments on their way to reach the final destinations. As a result, the abstract
concept of life can be metaphorically mentioned through other more delineated
ones. Depending on the distinctive features of different cultures or specific
geographical characteristics of regions in the world, life has its own uniqueness.
The conceptualization of life in Engish and Vietnamese short stories and the
universal and unique conceptual referring to life among languages have given me a
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great inspiration to carry out a research entitled: " Structural and ontological
metaphors of ―life‖ in typical short stories in English and Vietnamese ". Hopefully,
the findings of this study would make a contribution to the process of understanding
and interpretation of conceptual metaphors in English and Vietnamese short stories.
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study
1.2.1. Aims of the study
As the title of my paper suggests, the primary aim of the study is to
help Vietnamese teachers and learners of English investigating conceptual
metaphors of ―life‖ effectively.
1.2.2. Objectives of the study
The study is intended to fulfill the following objectives:
- Investigating the conceptual metaphors of ―life‖ in typical short stories in
English and Vietnamese.
- Making a comparison between expressions of conceptual metaphors used
for describing life in typical short stories in English and Vietnamese.
- Suggesting the implications for the teaching and learning of conceptual
metaphors denoting life in English.
1.3. Research questions
In order to achieve the aims and objectives of the investigation, the
researcher attempts to give answers to the following questions:
a. How are the structural and ontological metaphors of ―life‖ in typical short
stories in English and Vietnamese?
b. What are the similarities and differences of the structural and ontological
metaphors of ―life‖ in typical short stories in English and Vietnamese?
c. What are the implications for the use of conceptual metaphors in English,
in teaching, learning and translating?
1.4. Methods of the study
In this study, the quantitative and qualitative methods are applied in order to
achieve its aims and objectives. In addition, this research is also carried out on the
base of contrastive and comparative analysis so as to make an investigation into the
similarities and differences in the structural and ontological metaphors of ―life‖ in
typical short stories in English and Vietnamese from cognitive semantic approach.

2


1.5. Scope of the study
Due to time constraints and within the framework of an M.A thesis,
this research investigates only the similarities and differences in expressions of the
structural and ontological metaphors of ―life‖ in typical short stories in English and
Vietnamese from cognitive linguistics. The researcher also chooses to investigate
these conceptual metaphors in sixteen English short stories and sixteen Vietnamese
short stories.(see Appendix 1)
1.6. Significance of the study
Theoretically, this study is hoped to provide useful contributions to studies of
linguistic unit become from cognitive semantic approach, which in turn can shed
light on researches in difficult other fields such as psychology, psycholinguistics,
and applied cultural linguistics.
Practically, this research is expected to help Vietnamese learners of English
better understand ance of conceptual metaphors in English and Vietnamese literary
works. Moreover, it can contribute to the teaching of English literature in
Vietnamese universities of volves world foreign languages.
1.7. Design of the study
This study is composed of five chapters:
Chapter I, “Introduction”, present the rationale, the aims and objective of
the study, the research questions and the methods of the study. I will also be
discussed to the presentation of the scope and the significance of the study.
Chapter II, “Literature review”, is where a review of previous studies is
carried out and the theoretical background is provied.
Chapter III, mainly focuses on describing and analyzing the structural and
ontological metaphors of ―life‖ in typical short stories in English and Vietnamese
Chapter IV, finds out common mistakes for learners and then propose solutions for
teaching and learning metaphors of "life" in typical short stories in English and
Vietnamese.
Chapter V, “Conclusion”, sums up the development of the study, some
limitation and suggestion for further research have been supplied. This subsection
brings about the practical value to the thesis from which readers can, to different
degrees, benefi.

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CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Previous studies
Cognitive Linguistics was emerged in the 1970s whose aim was to
investigate the relationship of the language, the mind, and the socio physical
experience of human beings. Over the last decades, a variety of researches have
been done in this aspect, especially for the conceptual emotional metaphors. At this
period of time, Lakoff began his collaboration with the philosopher Mark Johnson
in 1979, and they published their seminal book Metaphors We Live By in 1980,
which was the first publication to bring Cognitive Linguistics to the attention of a
wider audience. In is work, Lakoff and Johnson present their strong arguments
against the traditional view of metaphor and introduce a new one that challenged all
the aspects of this widely-share theory in a coherent and systematic way. They
claim "metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought
and action" (Lakoff& Johnson, 1980, p.3). They also introduce the notion of
conceptual metaphor and illustrate their viewpoint with a huge number of linguistic
examples. This work is the main theoretical background and guideline for my
thesis.
There are many cognitive linguists contributing to the development of
cognitive linguistics in the world such as: Kovecses (2010) points out that common
target domains include emotion (such as anger, fear, love, happiness, sadness,
shame and pride), desire, morality, thought, society/ nation, politics,economy,
human relationships, communication, time, life and death,eligion, events and
actions. To illustrate that, Lakoff and Turner (1989) investigate metaphors for life
and death, as well as time, in literary texts. Johnson (1992) discussion of morality as
moral accounting . Jakel (1995) describes a large system of metaphors relating to
the mind and thought, in which the mind is viewed as a workshop and thought as
the manipulations of tools and objects. Kovecses (1986, 1988, 1990, 1991a, 1991b)
are analyses of various emotion concepts. Lakoff (1990, 1993) looks at metaphor
for events and actions in general. Lakoff (1993, 1994) and Radden (1997) examine
the concept of time as conceptualized in terms of moving objects. Evans (2004) is a
book-length study of time.
In Lakoff and Turner's work (1989), More than Cool Reason: A field guide
to poetic metaphor, the conceptual metaphors denoting "life" were mostly examined
4


on the scope of poems. Other minor researches on the concept of life includes The
Journeys of Life: Examining a Conceptual Metaphor with Semantic and Episodic
Memory Recall (Katz & Taylor, 2008) with a deeper insight into only one
conceptual metaphor LIFE IS A JOURNEY. This conceptual metaphor is also
discussed by Lakoff (1994) and Winter (1995). In general, the number of the
researches into the conceptual metaphors denoting "life" merely takes up an
insignificant part in comparison with other target domains, which inspires me to
make a further study of this abstract concept.
In Viet Nam, there are some noticeable cogntive linguistics, such as Lý Toàn
Thắng (2005) , Trần Văn Cơ (2007), Nguyễn Đức Tồn (2007, 2009), Phan Văn Hòa
(2008) and Nguyễn Lai (2009). Lý Toàn Thắng (2005) in his book ―Ngôn ngữ học
tri nhận – Từ lý thuyết đại cương đến thực tiễn tiếng Việt‖ gives an introduction to
cognitive linguistics and presents distinctive features of linguistics models about the
world. Trần Văn Cơ (2007) explains the traditional view of metaphor and points out
the new viewpoint on this figure of speech in the light of cognitive linguistics.
Nguyễn Đức Tồn (2008) and Nguyễn Lai (2009) do research on the use of
conceptual metaphors in idioms and poetry respectively. Besides, there are some
minor researches, carried out in VNU University of Languages and International.
Studies, conceptual metaphors denoting “love” in American and Vietnamese
romantic novels from 2008 t0 2013 by Lê Thị Khánh Hòa (2012); “life” and
“death” metaphors in some short stories by Jack london from cognitive perspective
by Hoàng Diệu Thu (2012) and conceptual metaphor denoting “economy” as
“human body” in nytimes.com and fica.vn (2013) by Hồ Thị Hải Yến (2014).
However, none of them mentioned in detail the conceptual metaphors denoting
LIFE, and the similarities and differences between linguistic expressions deriving
from these metaphors. In the University of Da Nang, Hoàng Nguyễn Tôn Ngân
(2014) also made a research on cognitive metaphors denoting the concept of "life",
but the source of analyzed data was taken from English and Vietnamese lyric song
Despite all the existing books and researches on conceptualization in the world in
general and Vietnamese in particular, there has been no specific study on structural
and ontological metaphors of ―life‖ in typical short stories in English and
Vietnamese, which motivates me to make an investigation in this topic.

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2.2. Overview of cognitive
2.2.1. Cognitive Science
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary, scientific study of the mind and its
processes. It examines the nature, the tasks, and the functions of cognition.
Cognitive scientists study intelligence and behavior, with a focus on how nervous
systems represent, process, and transform information. The typical analysis of
cognitive science spans many levels of organization, from learning and decision to
logic and planning; from neural circuitry to modular brain organization. The
fundamental concept of cognitive science is that "thinking can best be understood in
terms of representational structures in the mind and computational procedures that
operate on those structures." and is defined in the Oxford Advanced Learner's
Dictionary (2000) as "the process by which knowledge and understanding is
developed in the mind" (p. 299). It encompasses mental processes such as attention,
memory, production of language, problem solving and decision making. Ly Toan
Thang (2005) considered "Cognition" as the process of absorbing, storing and
processing information into knowledge. The term "cognitive" in "cognitive science"
is used for "any kind of mental operation or structure that can be studied in precise
terms" (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999). This conceptualization is very broad, and
should not be confused with how "cognitive" is used in some traditions of analytic
philosophy, where "cognitive" has to do only with formal rules and truth conditional
semantics.
The ability to learn and understand language is an extremely complex
process. A major driving force in the theoretical linguistic field is discovering the
nature that language must have in the abstract in order to be learned in such a
fashion. The study of language processing ranges from the investigation of the
sound patterns of speech to the meaning of words and whole sentences. Linguistics
often divides language processing into orthography, phonetics, phonology,
morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Many aspects of language can be
studied from each of these components and from their interaction.
The study of language processing in cognitive science is closely tied to the
field of linguistics. Linguistics was traditionally studied as a part of the humanities,
including studies of history, art and literature. In the last fifty years or so, more and
more researchers have studied knowledge and use of language as a cognitive
phenomenon, the main problems being how knowledge of language can be acquired
6


and used, and what precisely it consists of.[8] Linguists have found that, while
humans form sentences in ways apparently governed by very complex systems, they
are remarkably unaware of the rules that govern their own speech. Thus linguists
must resort to indirect methods to determine what those rules might be, if indeed
rules as such exist. In any event, if speech is indeed governed by rules, they appear
to be opaque to any conscious consideration.
2.2.2. Cognitive Linguistics
Cognitive Linguistics is an approach to the analysis of natural language that
originated in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the work of George Lakoff, Ron
Langacker, and Len Talmy. In contrast with other linguistic researches, Cognitive
Linguistics is deemed to be a flexible framework rather than a single theory of
language. In other words, it includes a cluster of many partially overlapping
approaches rather than a single well-defined theory. In the light of Cognitive
Linguistics, language is considered as a way of organizing knowledge that reflects
the needs, interests, and experiences of individuals and cultures. formal The
structures of language are studied not as if they were autonomous, but as reflections
of general conceptual organization categorization principles, processing
mechanisms, and experiential and environmental influences (Dirk & Hubert, 2007).
Whereas the generative grammarians only analyze language on the base of a
precisely formulated set of rules whose output is all the grammatical sentences in a
given language, for the Cognitive approach, natural language is not only seen as a
system of rules, but also a repository of world knowledge, a structured collection of
meaningful categories that help us deal with new experiences and store old
information (Dirk & Hubert, 2007).
Until now, its theory formation is not yet completely stabilized. However,
according to Croft & Cruse (2004), there are three fundamental hypotheses
considered as the guiding principles of Cognitive Linguistics to language:
- Language is not an autonomous cognitive faculty.
- Grammar is conceptualization.
- Knowledge of language emerges from language use.
These above hypotheses are presented as opposite responses to the other
vigorous research paradigms including Generative Grammar and Truth-conditional
Semantics. Today, the arguments and empirical questions are still raised by the
cognitive linguistics to protect their hypotheses.
7


Topics of special interest for Cognitive Linguistics include: the structural
characteristics of natural language categorization (such as prototypicality,
systematic polysemy, cognitive models, mental imagery, and metaphor) the
functional principles of linguistic organization (such as iconicity and naturalness);
the conceptual interface between syntax and semantics (as explored by Cognitive
Grammar and Construction Grammar); the experiential and pragmatic background
of language-in-use; and the relationship between language and thought, including
questions about relativism and conceptual universals.
Although there has been more than thirty years of development in the world
researches related to "Cognitive linguistics" just account for an insignificant
numbers in Viet Nam with some noticeable authors such as Lý Toàn Thắng (2005),
Trần Văn Cơ (2007), Phan Văn Hoài (2008), Nguyễn Đức Tồn (2007, 2008) and
Nguyễn Lai (2009)
2.2.3. Cognitive Semantics
Cognitive semantics is part of the cognitive linguistics movement. Cogitive
semantics is typically used as a tool for lexical studies such as those put forth by
Leonard Talmy, George Lakoff, Dirk Geeraerts and Bruce Wayne Hawkins.
As part of the field of cognitive linguistics, the cognitive semantics approach
rejects the formal traditions modularisation of linguistics into phonology, syntax,
pragmatics, etc. Instead it divides semantics (meaning) into meaning-construction
and knowledge representation. Therefore, cognitive semantics studies much of the
area traditionally devoted to pragmatics as well as semantics.
Cognitive semantic theories are typically built on the argument that lexical
meaning is conceptual. That is, the meaning of a lexeme is not reference to the
entity or relation in the "real world" that the lexeme refers to, but to a concept in the
mind based on experiences with that entity or relation. An implication of this is that
semantics is not objective and also that semantic knowledge is not isolatable from
encyclopaedic knowledge.
Moreover, cognitive semantic theories are also typically built upon the idea
that semantics is amenable to the same mental processes as encyclopaedic
knowledge. They thus involve many theories from cognitive psychology and
cognitive anthropology such as prototypicality, which cognitive semanticists argue
is the basic cause of polysemy.

8


Another trait of cognitive semantics is the recognition that lexical meaning is
not fixed but a matter of construal and conventionalization. The processes of
linguistic construal, it is argued, are the same psychological processes involved in
the processing of encyclopaedic knowledge and in perception.
Many cognitive semantic frameworks, such as that developed by Leonard
Talmy take into account syntactic structures as well, while others focus mainly on
lexical entities.
The four tenets of cognitive semantics are:
1. Semantic structure is conceptual structure
2. Conceptual structure is embodied
3. Meaning representation is encyclopaedic
4. Meaning-construction is conceptualisation
2.2.4. Metaphor
2.2.4.1. The traditional view of metaphors
Metaphor used to be simply defined as ―...a figure of speech in which a word
or phrase is used to describe something it does not literally denote‖ (mcGlone,
2007:109). The Greek rhetoricians considered metaphor one of the master devices
namely trope which is based on the implicitly marked comparison of two categories.
Up to the late 19th century, the study of metaphor was still considered the main
concern of literary scholars who were interested in the interpretation of particular
tropes in poetry and fiction. According to the Aristotelian comparison view" (1965),
metaphor was characterized by the schematic form: A is B, such as this journal is a
gem and could be explicitly interpreted in simile form: A is like B (this journal is
like a gem (cited in McGlone, 2007:110). Thus, the comparison view, underlines
Miller (1993: 186-188), treats metaphors as a species of a species of analogy and
asserts that the perception of similarity is the basis of metaphor use and
comprehension. However, many scholars reject that simplistic comparison
view about metaphor. Richards (1936:90) denies that metaphor is mere ornament
and a unique feature of language but "the omnipresent principle of all its free
action". He also clarifies the metaphor form and provides a fairly standard
terminology of metaphor. The term used metaphorically is the "vehicle" (e.g. a
gem), the term to which it is applied is the "tenor" or "topic" (e.g. this journal), and
the meaning of the metaphor is the "ground". Building on Richards' work, Black
(1962) proposes his interaction view" where metaphors reflect the process of
9


perceiving the topic concept "in terms of the vehicle concept to produce a ground
that combines their conceptual attributes and transcends their literal denotations
(cited in McGlone, 2007:110). His theory, however, is criticized by many
contemporary metaphor theorists for its vague explanation of figurative
transcendence.
2.2.4.2. Metaphors in the Cognitive Linguistic View
A new view of metaphor that challenged all the aspects of the powerful
traditional theory in a systematic way was first developed by Lakoff and George
Mark Johnson (1980) in their seminal study: Metaphor We Live By. Lakoff and
Johnson in their work strongly stated that:
1) Metaphor is a property of concepts, not of words.
2) The purpose of using metaphor is to comprehend concepts in a deeper
way, not just for decorative function in literature.
3) The basis of metaphor is not merely based on similarity
4) Metaphor is not a matter of special talents, but is used effortlessly in
everyday life by ordinary people
5) Metaphor is not a superfluous process by using metaphorical expressions
but is an integral one of human thought and reasoning in order to conceive the
world.
2.2.4.2.1. What is metaphor?
For over 2,000 years, metaphor was studied within the discipline known as
rhetoric. This discipline was first established in ancient Greece, and was focused on
practical instruction in how to persuade others of a particular point of view by the
use of rhetorical devices. Metaphor was one of these devices, which were called
tropes by rhetoricians. Due to its central importance, metaphor came to be known
as the master trope. Within this approach, metaphor was characterised by the
schematic form: A is B, as in Achilles is a lion. As a consequence, metaphor has
been identified since the time of Aristotle with implicit comparison. In other words,
while metaphor is based on the comparison of two categories, the comparison is not
explicitly marked. This contrasts with simile, where the comparison is overtly
signalled by the use of as or like: Achilles is as brave as a lion; Achilles is brave,
like a lion.
Clearly, examples of metaphor like Achilles is a lion are based on
comparison. Following Grady (1997a, 1999) we will use the term perceived
10


resemblance to describe this comparison. In this case, the resemblance is not
physical: Achilles does not actually look like a lion. Instead, due to cultural
knowledge which holds that lions are courageous, by describing Achilles as a lion
we asso- ciate him with the lion‘s qualities of courage and ferocity. Metaphors of
this kind are called resemblance metaphors (Grady 1999).
Resemblance metaphors based on physical resemblance have been called
image metaphors (Lakoff and Turner 1989). In other words, image
metaphors are one subset of resemblance-based metaphors. For instance, con- sider
the following translation of the beginning of André Breton‘s surrealist poem ‗Free
Union‘, cited in Lakoff and Turner (1989: 93):
My wife whose hair is a brush fire
Whose thoughts are summer lightning
Whose waist is an hourglass
Whose waist is the waist of an otter caught in the teeth of a tiger
Whose mouth is a bright cockade with the fragrance of a star of the first
magnitude.
Several of these lines represent image metaphors. For example, in the third
line the poet is establishing a visual resemblance between the shape of his wife‘s
waist and the shape of an hourglass.
Resemblance metaphors have received considerable attention within conceptual metaphor theory, particularly within the approach now known as Cognitive
Poetics (see Lakoff and Turner 1989 for a seminal study; see also Stockwell 2002,
and Gavins and Steen 2003). However, for the most part, research in the conceptual
metaphor tradition has not been primarily concerned with meta- phors of this kind.
Instead, research in this tradition has focused on the kind of everyday language
illustrated in the following examples. These examples represent common ways of referring to particular experiences of relationships like
marriage. The examples in (15) are from Lakoff and Johnson (1980: 44–5).
a. Look how far we’ve come.
b. We’re at a crossroads.
c. We’ll just have to go our separate ways.
d. We can’t turn back now.
e. I don’t think this relationship is going anywhere.
f. Where are we?
11


g. We’re stuck.
h. It’s been a long, bumpy road.
i. This relationship is a dead-end street.
j. We’re just spinning our wheels.
k. Our marriage is on the rocks.
l. This relationship is foundering.
What is striking about these examples is that they represent ordinary
everyday ways of talking about relationships: there is nothing stylised or overtly
poetic about these expressions. Moreover, for the most part, they do not make use of
the linguistic formula A is B, which is typical of resemblance metaphors. However,
these expressions are clearly non-literal: a relationship cannot liter- ally spin its
wheels, nor stand at the crossroads.
Although a slim volume, Lakoff and Johnson‘s 1980 book Metaphors We
Live By changed the way linguists thought about metaphor for two important
reasons. Firstly, Lakoff and Johnson observed that metaphorical language appears to
relate to an underlying metaphor system, a ‗system of thought‘. In other words, they
noticed that we cannot choose any conceptual domain at random in order to
describe relationships like marriage. Observe that the expressions in have something
in common: in addition to describing experiences of relationships, they also rely
upon expressions that relate to the conceptual domain JOURNEYS. Indeed, our
ability to describe relationships in terms of journeys appears to be highly
productive.
This pattern led Lakoff and Johnson to hypothesise a conventional link at the
conceptual level between the domain of LOVE RELATIONSHIPS and the domain
of JOURNEYS. According to this view, LOVE, which is the target (the domain
being described), is conventionally structured in terms of JOURNEYS, which is the
source (the domain in terms of which the target is described). This association is
called a conceptual metaphor. According to Lakoff and Johnson, what makes it a
metaphor is the conventional association of one domain with another.What makes it
conceptual (rather than purely linguistic) is the idea that the motivation for the
metaphor resides at the level of concep- tual domains. In other words, Lakoff and
Johnson proposed that we not only speak in metaphorical terms, but also think in
metaphorical terms. From this perspective, linguistic expressions that are

12


metaphorical in nature are simply reflections of an underlying conceptual
association.
Lakoff and Johnson also observed that there are a number of distinct roles
that populate the source and target domains. For example, JOURNEYS include
TRAVELLERS,a MEANS OF TRANSPORT,a ROUTE followed, OBSTACLES
along the route and so on. Similarly, the target domain LOVE RELATIONSHIP
includes LOVERS, EVENTS in the relationship and so on. The metaphor works by
mapping roles from the source onto the target: LOVERS become TRAVELLERS
(We‘ re at a crossroads), who travel by a particular MEANS OF TRANSPORT
(We‘ re spinning our wheels), proceeding along a particular ROUTE (Our
relationship went off course), impeded by obstacles (Our marriage is on the rocks).
As these examples demon- strate, a metaphorical link between two domains consists
of a number of distinct correspondences or mappings. According to this view, conceptual metaphors are always at least partially motivated by and grounded in
experience. As we have seen, then, cognitive semanticists define metaphor as a
conceptual mapping between source and target domain.
2.2.4.2.2. Conceptual Metaphor as a Set of Mappings
The definition of metaphor in the light of cognitive linguistics is
CONCEPTUAL DOMAIN A is understood in terms of CONCEPTUAL DOMAIN
B. To be more specific, ―there is a set of systematic correspondences between the
source and the target in the sense that constituent conceptual elements of B
correspond to constituent elements of A‖ (Kovecses, 2010, p.7). These conceptual
correspondences are commonly regarded as mappings. Let us take the SOCIAL
ORGANIZATIONS ARE PLANTS conceptual metaphor as an example.
SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE PLANTS
He works for the local branch of the bank.
Our company is growing.
They had to prune the workforce.
A set of correspondences, or mappings between constituent elements of the
source (i.e. PLANTS) and those of the target (i.e. SOCIAL ORGANATIONS) can
be laid out as follows.

13


Source: PLANT

Target: SOCIAL ORGANATIONS

1. The whole plant

the entire organization

2. A part of the plant

a part of the organization

3. Growth of the plant

development of the organization

4. Removing a part of the plant

reducing the organization

5. The root of the plant

the origin of the organization

6. The flowering

the best stage, the most successful stage

7.The fruits

The beneficial consequences

Table 2.1. Metaphorical Mapping between Conceptual Domains
Let us consider another example with the conceptual metaphor LOVE IS A
JOURNEY, in which the target domain – love is conceived in terms of the source
domain – a journey. Some metaphorical linguistics expressions are commonly used
by speakers of English in daily conversations in order to talk about the abstract
concept – love.
LOVE IS A JOURNEY
Look how far we’ve come.
We’ll just have to go our separate ways.
We can’t turn back now.
The mappings of the conceptual metaphor LOVE IS A JOURNEY can be as
follows:
Source: JOURNEY

Mappings

Target: LOVE

TRAVELLERS

LOVERS

VEHICLE

LOVE RELATIONSHIP

JOURNEY

EVENTS IN THE RELATIONSHIP

DISTANCE COVERED

PROGRESS MADE

OBSTACLES ENCOUNTERED

DIFFICULTIES EXPERIENCED

DECISIONS ABOUT DIRECTION

CHOICES ABOUT WHAT TO DO

DESTINATION OF THE JOURNEY

GOALS OF THE RELATIONSHIP

Table 2.2. Metaphorical Mapping between Conceptual Domains
14


In general, mapping are regarded as the systematic set of correspondences
between constituent elements of conceptual domain A (i.e. target domain), and
conceptual domain B (i.e. source domain), which characterize conceptual
metaphors.
2.2.4.2.3. Kind of Metaphors
Metaphors can be classified in a range of different ways, based on various
criteria, from complexity to level of usage. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) introduced
three general kinds of conceptual metaphor including structural, ontological, and
orientational metaphors. These kinds of metaphor often coincide in particular cases.
2.2.4.2.3.1. Structural Metaphors
A structural metaphor is a metaphorical system in which one complex
concept (typically abstract) is presented in terms of some other (usually more
concrete) concept.
A structural metaphor "need not be explicitly articulated or defined,"
according to John Goss, "but it operates as a guide to meaning and action in the
discursive context within which it operates" ("Marketing the New Marketing" in
Ground Truth , 1995).
Structural metaphor is one of the three overlapping categories of conceptual
metaphors identified by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in Metaphors We Live
By (1980). (The other two categories are orientational metaphor and ontological
metaphor .) "Each individual structural metaphor is internally consistent," say
Lakoff and Johnson, and it "imposes a consistent structure on the concept it
structures."
Let‘s consider the following example:
"ARGUMENT IS WAR is an example of a structural metaphor . According
to Lakoff and Johnson, structural metaphors are 'cases where one concept is
metaphorically structured in terms of another' (1980/ 2003:14). Source domains
provide frameworks for target domains : these determine the ways in which we
think and talk about the entities and activities to which the target domains refer, and
even the ways in which we behave or carry out activities, as in the case of
argument‖.
(M. Knowles and R. Moon, Introducing Metaphor . Routledge, 2006)
The War Metaphor

15


"In the structural metaphor ECONOMIC ACTIVITY = WAR, concepts from
the source domain WARFARE are transferred to the target domain, because
physical conflict is ubiquitous in human life and therefore quite well-structured and
more readily understandable. It coherently structures the relations between the
various factors in economic activity: business is war; the economy is a battlefield;
competitors are warriors or even armies fighting each other, and economic activities
are conceptualized in terms of attack and defense, as illustrated in the following
example:
As a result of the crisis, the Asians will strike back; they will launch an
export offensive. ( Wall Street Journal , June 22, 1998, 4)
The WAR metaphor is realized in the following schemata: ATTACK and
DEFENSE as causes and WIN/LOSE as the result: successful attack and defense
result in victory; unsuccessful attack and defense result in loss . . .."
(Susanne Richardt, "Expert and Common-Sense Reasoning." Text, Context,
Concepts , ed. by C. Zelinsky-Wibbelt. Walter de Gruyter, 2003)
Labor and Time as Metaphors
"Let us now consider other structural metaphors that are important in our
lives: LABOR IS A RESOURCE and TIME IS A RESOURCE. Both of these
metaphors are culturally grounded in our experience with material resources.
Material resources are typically raw materials or sources of fuel. Both are viewed as
serving purposeful ends. Fuel may be used for heating, transportation, or the energy
used in producing a finished product. Raw materials typically go directly into
products. In both cases, the material resources can be quantified and given a value.
In both cases, it is the kind of material as opposed to the particular piece or quantity
of it that is important for achieving the purpose. . . .
"When we are living by the metaphors LABOR IS A RESOURCE and TIME
IS A RESOURCE, as we do in our culture, we tend not to see them as metaphors at
all. But . . . both are structural metaphors that are basic to Western industrial
societies."
(George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By . The University
of Chicago Press, 1980.
2.2.4.2.3.2. Ontological Metaphors
According to book ―Metaphors we live‖ by George Lakoff and Mark
Johnsen (2003): Spatial orientations like up-down, front-back, on-off, center16


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