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The semantics of metaphors of love in english and vietnamese songs

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A. THESIS

THE SEMANTICS OF METAPHORS OF LOVE IN ENGLISH
AND VIETNAMESE SONGS
(Đặc điểm ngữ nghĩa trong hình ảnh ẩn dụ về tình yêu
các bài hát tiếng Anh và tiếng Việt)

NGUYỄN THỊ LỆ PHƯƠNG

Field: English Language
Code: 60220201

Hanoi, 2017


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY


M.A. THESIS

THE SEMANTICS OF METAPHORS OF LOVE IN ENGLISH
AND VIETNAMESE SONGS
(Đặc điểm ngữ nghĩa trong hình ảnh ẩn dụ về tình yêu
các bài hát tiếng Anh và tiếng Việt)

NGUYỄN THỊ LỆ PHƯƠNG

Field: English Language
Code: 60220201
SUPERVISOR: TRAN THI THU HIEN PH.D

Hanoi, 2017


CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY

I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report
Entitled “The semantics of metaphors of love in English and Vietnamese songs’’
submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master in
English Language. Except where the reference is indicated, no other person’s
work has been used without due acknowledgement in the text of the thesis.
Hanoi, 2017

Nguyen Thi Le Phuong

Approve by
SUPERVISOR

………………………………….
Date:

i


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the following people
for their great supports during my two-year time for the MA course.


First and foremost, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Tran Thi
Thu Hien Ph.D, my supervisor, for her clear guidance, insightful comments and
dutiful supervision.
My deep thanks also go to all the lecturers at Ha Noi Open University
for their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm in their lectures, from which
I have acquired valuable knowledge and inspiration to fulfill this minor thesis.
With the passion for literature and semantics, I am really interested in
the lectures of Assoc. Prof. Dr Hoang Tuyet Minh and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ho Ngoc
Trung which have inspired me to do this study.
I also would like to express my sincere thanks to my family any many of my
friends and colleagues for their valuable sharing and encouragements.
Finally, my sincere thanks are for the people who will give me the precious
comments after reading the graduation thesis.

ii


ABSTRACT

The researcher is about the semantics of metaphors of love in English and
Vietnamese songs. The writer has tried to give an overview of the relevant
literature review in the concern of the knowledge related to metaphors basing on
the theory of the famous writers, especially Lakoff and Johnson. This study is
an attempt to explore semantics of metaphors in English and Vietnamese love
songs. The purpose is to find out the typical metaphorical images of love used in
English and Vietnamese songs.
Lakoff and Johnson (1980) with the book “Metaphors we live by’’ which
focuses on metaphor in English songs. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen (2009) has
studied “ Ẩn dụ tri nhận trên cứ liệu ca từ Trịnh Công Sơn’’ which emphasizes on
the metaphor of love in Vietnamese songs. Therefore, in my research, the writer has
made the metaphor of love in both languages. On the one side, it can help teachers
give the effective lectures and in other side, it helps learners study English better.
That is the reason why the research was done which aims at studying the semantics
of metaphors of love in English and Vietnamese songs.
This paper is conducted through the documentary analysis and descriptive
method. The writer uses mainly on descriptive method to describe the semantics of
metaphors of love in English songs. Besides, some methods are used as the
combination of qualitative and quantitative methods which contributes to this study.
In the paper, the researcher found 95 metaphorical imagines from 69 songs in
English and 44 metaphorical ones from 35 songs. The researcher clarifies the
metaphorical images of love in songs, analyzes and categorizes them into 3
subtypes: ontological, structural or orientational metaphors with 14 sets of
metaphors.
These results are significant because they help not only teachers have
effective lectures but also learners study English better.

iii


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY...................................................................... i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..................................................................................... ii
ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................. iii
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ...........................................................................1
1.1. Rationale of the study...........................................................................................1
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study .........................................................................2
1.3. Research questions ...............................................................................................2
1.4. Method of the study .............................................................................................2
1.5. Scope of the study ................................................................................................3
1.6. Significance of the study ......................................................................................3
1.7. Design of the study...............................................................................................4
CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................5
2.1. Word and its meanings, change of meaning and components of word meaning..........5
2.1.1. Word and its meaning .......................................................................................5
2.1.2. Change of meaning ...........................................................................................6
2.1.3. Components of Word Meaning .........................................................................7
2.2. Metaphors .............................................................................................................7
2.2.1. Concepts of metaphor .......................................................................................7
2.2.2. Conceptual metaphors .......................................................................................9
2.2.3. Classification of metaphors ................................................................................10
2.2.4. Target domain and source domain of conceptual metaphor ...........................11
2.2.5. Metaphor and culture ......................................................................................12
2.3. Previous studies ..................................................................................................12
2.4. Chapter summary ...............................................................................................13
CHAPTER 3. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION ...................................................14
3.1. The stereotypical metaphorical images of the love songs in English and
Vietnamese ................................................................................................................14
3.1.1. Ontological metaphors ....................................................................................14
iv


3.1.2. Structural metaphor .........................................................................................27
3.1.3. Orientational metaphors ..................................................................................45
3.2. The similarities and differences of metaphors of love between English and
Vietnamese songs ......................................................................................................45
3.2.1. Similarities ......................................................................................................45
3.2.2. Differences ......................................................................................................46
3.3. Chapter summary ...............................................................................................48
CHAPTER 4. COMMON ERRORS MADE BY VIETNAMESE LEARNERS
IN USING METAPHORS OF LOVE IN ENGLISH AND SOLUTIONS ........50
4.1. Subjects ..............................................................................................................50
4.2. The test and the interview ..................................................................................50
4.2.1. The test ............................................................................................................50
4.2.2. The interview ..................................................................................................51
4.3. Procedure............................................................................................................51
4.4. Common errors made by students at Vietnam National Academy of Music ....52
4.4.1. Source domain .................................................................................................52
4.4.2. Target domain .................................................................................................54
4.4.3. Culture .............................................................................................................55
4.5. Suggestions ........................................................................................................56
4.5.1. Suggestions for teachers ..................................................................................56
4.5.2. Suggestions for learners ..................................................................................57
4.6. Chapter summary ...............................................................................................58
CHAPTER 5. CONCLUSION ...............................................................................59
5.1. Concluding remarks ...........................................................................................59
5.2. Limitations of the research .................................................................................60
5.3. Suggestions for further research.........................................................................60
REFERENCES ........................................................................................................61

v


CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Rationale of the study
Metaphor in language is like a meal of daily life. Today, metaphors is not
only found on poetry or daily language, but also widely used in modern English
songs with major theme of love. Actually, love is an eternal and immortal topic of
both adults and elderly people. Therefore, metaphors of love are not new but ideal
and exciting in music world for musicians and language learner which makes the
communication more lively and colorful.
Metaphors can enhance the song lyrics or sentences in many ways, which is
why so many writers, poets or musicians use them. As we know, they use
metaphors which may give readers or listeners a picture or scene of their mind of
what is being discussed or talked about. Moreover, using metaphors, especially
extended metaphors also help readers or listeners understand a concept and have
symbol that keep the metaphor going. Therefore, the metaphors are used more
commonly which make the writings, poems or songs more interesting. One of the
most important things is to help readers or listeners understand what the
author/musicians are trying to convey.
Visual images on metaphors are expressed more specifically and clearly by the
writers. Hence, understanding metaphors of love in English songs and Vietnamese
ones help us master an effective stylistic device in order to improve our
communication and practicing skills, find out composers’ point of view about love
and help our feeling get better.
As a teacher of English, teaching students how to understand metaphors is not easy.
However, if the students can perceive this, we will have imagination and creativity in their
work. In many love songs, fascinating melodies and sweet lyrics along with the power of
metaphor which give the messages of love to students more closely.
Love is purely and fresh something for us when thinking about it. It is an
intense feeling of deep affection and makes the musicians have a great interest and
pleasure. They use it to affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one’s behalf.
1


There are lots of musicians who use metaphors in their song lyrics. This is a good
way to describe how they feel about love. That is reason why there is many various
metaphorical imagines in songs.
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study
1.2.1. Aims of the study
This paper aims at studying the semantics of metaphors of love in English
and Vietnamese songs.
1.2.2. Objectives of the study
- To find out how metaphors of love are used in English and Vietnamese songs.
- To determine the similarities and differences of metaphors of love in English
and Vietnamese songs.
- To discover the common errors in understanding metaphorical images in love
songs and to suggest some solutions.
1.3. Research questions
In order to achieve the aims of the study, the objectives will be elaborated
into the following research questions:
1. How are metaphors of love used in English and Vietnamese songs?
2. What are the similarities and differences in use of metaphors between
English and Vietnamese songs?
3. What are the common errors in understanding metaphorical images in
love songs?
1.4. Method of the study
This paper is mainly conducted through the documentary analysis and
descriptive study with the combination of qualitative and quantitative approach.
Descriptive method is used primarily to describe the semantic of metaphors of love
in English and Vietnamese songs. It explains the metaphorical images in love songs
and characterizes the implication of the author. All the metaphorical imagines are
described in detail by using this method. Thanks to this method, it is effective to
analyse non-quantified topics and issues about the metaphors of love in English and
Vietnamese song. And the opportunity to integrate the qualitative and quantitative
2


methods of data collection.
Contrastive approach as a sub-discipline of linguistics which deals with the
systematic comparison of two languages which

is utilized to find out the

similarities and differences of metaphorical semantic in English songs with
reference to Vietnamese. When contrasting the metaphorical images in English such
as love is light, game, music, journey…in Vietnamese appears these images. It
helps us in learning a particular target language and deal with the relationship
between the languages a learner acquires or masters.
On the other hand, the analytical and synthetic methods are used in order to
dissect the important issues related to metaphorical semantic such as word meaning,
target domain and source domain of conceptual metaphor and metaphor and related
figures of speech. A large number of examples are going to be given and analyzed
both in these two languages.
1.5. Scope of the study
This study focuses on the semantics of metaphors of love in English and
Vietnamese songs. 69 English songs and 35 Vietnamese songs in the 20th century
will be analysed to find out the use of metaphors of love. All of the other studies
working with other types of metaphors in other genres of text are out of the scope of
the study.
1.6. Significance of the study
Theoretically, issues are necessary for the analysis. The theory had the closet
link with the contemporary Lakoff’s and Johnson’s definition of metaphor. Their
metaphors make our thoughts more vivid and structure our perceptions in mind.
Thanks to this theory, we have principal material to express metaphorical imagines
in love songs. They will be analyzed particularly through metaphor in love songs.
Practically, the writer presumes that this research and information collected
for it may be valuable for the students, teachers and people, who are interested in
the analysis of songs and want to extend their comprehension, specifically of love
metaphors. For this reason, the research in this field is indispensable, helpful and
interesting.
3


1.7. Design of the study
The thesis consists of 5 chapters:
Chapter 1- Introduction presents rationale, aims and objectives, research
questions, methods, scope, significance, and design of the study.
Chapter 2- Literature Review summarizes the results of the researchers who
worked on the problem, and give an overview on metaphorical images of love in songs.
Chapter 3- Findings and Discussions analyzes the data and interpreting the
results, as well as the similarities and differences of metaphors of love in English
and Vietnamese songs.
Chapter 4- Application deals with the common errors by learners of English
in using metaphorical images of love and solutions.
Chapter 5- Conclusion summarizes the issue and results of the study, as well
as offers some recommendations for the further study.

4


CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1. Word and its meanings, change of meaning and components of word meaning
2.1.1. Word and its meaning
Obviously, language is the expression of ideas by means of speech-sounds
combined into words and it is connected with the mental process of understanding.
It seems like a tool for expressing human thoughts. Also, it is a result of shared
opinions or values for social interaction. You can use language language to refer to
various means of communication with a single distinct meaningful element of
speech that is word.
Butler takes another definition “We want words to do more than they can. We
try to do with them what comes to very much like trying to mend a watch with a
pickaxe or to paint a miniature with a mop; we expect them to help us to grip and
dissect that which in ultimate essence is as ungrippable as shadow. Nevertheless
there they are; we have got to live with them, and the wise course is to treat them as
we do our neighbours, and make the best and not the worst of them”. (Butler, 1912)
Hoa (2004) she mentions that the meaning of utterance is more than the
meaning of the sentence because it is uttered in particular context. It is important for
understanding language in social contexts, as these are likely to affect meaning, and
for understanding varieties of English and effects of style.
Jackson & Amvela (2000) who mention a discussion of words that look and
sound the same, words that have several meanings, and "words" that are made up of
more than one "word" and the meaning of a word is composite of a number of
relations: reference to external context, relations with other words of a similar or
opposite meaning, collocational relations.
Truong (1993) has a reseach in the independent characteristic of words in
Basic English Lexicology concerns that basic theories of words in general and of
English words in particular. It is also the basic of unit of a language resulting from
the association of a particular meaning with a particular group of sound capable of a
particular grammar employment. The fundamental features of the basic word:
national character and stability.
5


Therefore, words are considered as symbols for humans, provide us with
endlessly flexible conditional semantic stimuli, which are just as 'real' and effective
for man as any other powerful stimulus. As this research includes sensation of
words and semantic change to find out the musician’s message in love songs.
2.1.2. Change of meaning
When a word loses its old meaning and comes to refer to something different,
the result is a change in word meaning. It refers to the alternation of the meaning of
existing words, as well as the addition of new meaning to a particular word. The
changes in meaning are gradual, and words are not changed in a day.
According to Durie and Ross(1996) “Like any linguistic change, a semantic
change is not acquired simultaneously by all members of a speech community. An
innovation enters into a language and spreads through the speech community along
socially determined lines. The original meaning of a form is not immediately
displaced by the innovated meaning, but the two coexist for some time”.
“Semantic change is not a change in meaning per se, but the addition of a
meaning to the semantic system or the loss of a meaning from the semantic system
while the form remains constant”.(David , 1996)
Andy (2000) mentioned that “Semantic shift also occurs in certain ordinate and
superordinate nouns. For example, 'Christian' is a superordinate term in British
English and refers to all followers of the Christian religion, no matter to which
branch or sect of it they belong. In Singaporean English, 'Christian' specifically
refers to Protestant. Similarly, 'alphabet' in English refers to the whole system of
letters while in Singaporean English it refers to any one of them. This, in
Singaporean English, the word 'alphabet' is made up of 8 alphabets”.
Generally, in the majority of cases semantic change and express a metaphor are
as fuzzy, self-contradictory, and difficult to predict as lexical semantics itself. This
is the reason that after initial claims that they will at long last successfully deal with
semantics, just about all linguistic theories quickly return to metaphor as usual and
concentrate on the structural aspects of language, which are more systematic and
therefore easier to deal with.
6


2.1.3. Components of Word Meaning
According to Lyon (1996), there are four major components of word
meaning:
+ Denotation: The exact, literal or actual meaning of a word which is the
straight forward or common-sense meaning of a sign.
For example: the denotation of “hot’’ is having or giving off heat, capable of
burning.
+ Connotation: An idea or feeling that a word invokes for a person in addition
to its literal or primary meaning.
For example: the connotation of the adjective “fat’’ is negative and often used
as an insult.
+ Structural meaning: the meaning which arises in the case of multiple
conceptual meaning when one sense of a word forms part of our response to another
sense.
For example: such word-groups as school grammar and grammar school are
semantically different because of the difference in the pattern of arrangement of the
component words.
+ Categorical meaning: is one part of grammatical meaning which words
derive from being a member of one category rather than another.
For example: gender (male, female)
Denotation is the straightforward dictionary definition of the word. It is the
actual literal definition or meaning of a word or term. In contrast, the connotation is
an association of a term. It can also be an emotional input attached to a word this
making it more figurative and suggestive.
2.2. Metaphors
2.2.1. Concepts of metaphor
Metaphors are a form of figurative language, which refers to words or
expressions that mean something different from their literal definition. In the case of
metaphors, the literal interpretation would often be pretty silly. Metaphors can make
your words come to life. Often, you can use a metaphor to make your subject more
7


relatable to the reader or to make a complex thought easier to understand. They can
also be a tremendous help when you want to enhance your writing with imagery. As
a common figure of speech, metaphors turn up everywhere from novels and films to
presidential speeches and even popular songs.
In cognitive

linguistics,

the

conceptual

domain

from

which

we

draw metaphorical expressions to understand another conceptual domain is known
as the source domain. The conceptual domain that is understood in this way is
the target domain. Thus the source domain of the journey is commonly used to
explain the target domain of life.
According to Deignan (2005) “Basic conceptual metaphors are part of the
common conceptual apparatus shared by members of a culture. They are systematic
in that there is a fixed correspondence between the structure of the domain to be
understood (e.g., death) and the structure of the domain in terms of which we are
understanding it (e.g., departure). We usually understand them in terms of common
experiences. They are largely unconscious, though attention may be drawn to them.
Their operation in cognition is almost automatic. And they are widely
conventionalized in language, that is, there are a great number of words and
idiomatic expressions in our language whose meanings depend upon those
conceptual metaphors”.
Lakoff and Johnson (1980) mention these variations on the concepts of the
metaphor Time is money:
You're wasting my time.
This gadget will save you hours.
I don't have the time to give you.
How do you spend your time these days?
That flat tire cost me an hour.
I've invested a lot of time in her.
You're running out of time.
Is that worth your while?
He's living on borrowed time.
8


“This situation shows very clearly that complex metaphors are based on
simple ones, which are in turn based on tight, local correlations in experience”.
(Kövecses, 2005) .
According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980), structural metaphors are cases
where one concept is metaphorically structured in terms of another. 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.
Theory rejects the notion that metaphor is a decorative device, peripheral to
language and thought. Instead, the theory holds that metaphor is central to thought,
and therefore to language. From this starting point, a number of tenets are derived,
which are discussed here with particular reference to language.
Understanding one domain in terms of another involves a set of fixed
correspondences (technically called mappings) between a source and a target
domain. This set of mappings obtains between basic constituent elements of the
target. To know a conceptual metaphor is to know the set of mappings that applies
to a given source-target pairing. It is these mappings that provide much of the
meaning of the metaphorical linguistic expressions (or linguistic metaphors) that
make a particular conceptual metaphor manifest.
2.2.2. Conceptual metaphors
A conceptual metaphor is a metaphor (or figurative comparison) in which one
idea (or conceptual domain) is understood in terms of another.
According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980), George Lakoff and Mark Johnson
identify three overlapping categories of conceptual metaphors:
a. Structural metaphors:
Structural metaphors is a metaphorical system in which one complex concept
(typically abstract) is presented in terms of some other (usually more concrete)
concept.
b. Orientational metaphors:
Orientational metaphor is a metaphor (or figurative comparison) that involves
9


spatial relationships (such as UP-DOWN, IN-OUT, ON-OFF, and FRONT-BACK).
And they are strongly cultural in content form an internally consistent set with those
that emerge most directly from our physical experience. The up-down orientational
metaphor can apply to situations that contain both physical and cultural elements.
c. Ontological metaphors:
Ontological metaphor is a type of metaphor (or figurative comparison) in
which something concrete is projected onto something abstract.
Ontological metaphor (a figure that provides “ways of viewing events,
activities, emotions, ideas, etc., as entities and substances”). Ontological
metaphors “are so natural and persuasive in our thought” say Lakoff and Johnson,
“that they are usually taken as self-evident, direct descriptions of mental
phenomena”. Indeed, they say, ontological metaphors “are among the most basic
devices we have for comprehending our experience”.
“Within metaphor, a distinction can be drawn between mere and ontological
metaphor; whereas the former simply associates a physical concept with a
metaphysical one, the latter recognizes that all concepts resonate with possible
transpositions and, as such, brings to the fore the world-making power of speaking.
Furthermore, ontological metaphor structures experience as an openness to
movement between concepts”. (Cazeaux, 2007).
2.2.3. Classification of metaphors
Metaphors aren't merely the candy sprinkles on the doughnut of language,
not just embellishments to the music of poetry and prose. Metaphors are ways of
thinking and also ways of shaping the thoughts of the others.
All of us, every day, speak and write and think in metaphors. In fact, it is
hard

to

imagine

how

we

would

get

by

without

them.

And

because figurative comparisons lie at the heart of language and thought, they have
been pinned down and picked apart by scholars in a wide variety of disciplines.
There are different 13 metaphorical concepts that can be defined. But three
types of metaphoric concepts are used basically according to Lakoff and Johnson:
marginal

metaphoric concepts (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980), conventional
10


metaphoric concepts(Lakoff and Johnson, 1980) and new metaphoric concepts
(Lakoff and Johnson, 1980).
Metaphors are not simply literary devices, but something active in
understanding, perhaps even the very basis of language. Besides, metaphors are
much more powerful instruments in the eyes of Lakoff and Johnson. Metaphors
have entailments that organize our experience, uniquely express that experience,
and create necessary realities. Previous theories derive, Lakoff and Johnson believe,
from a naive realism that there is an objective world, independent of ourselves, to
which words apply with fixed meanings.
2.2.4. Target domain and source domain of conceptual metaphor
In a conceptual metaphor, the source domain is the conceptual domain from
which metaphorical expressions are drawn. Also known as the image donor.
The

terms target and source were

introduced

by Lakoff

and

Johnson(1980). Although the more traditional terms tenor and vehicle (I.A. Richards,
1936) are roughly equivalent to target domain and source domain, respectively, the
traditional terms fail to emphasize the interaction between the two domains.
According

to

the

conceptual

view

of

metaphor as

outlined

(Lakoff &Johnson, 1980), metaphor is a cognitive process that allows one domain
of experience, the target domain, to be reasoned about in terms of another,
the source domain. The target domain is usually an abstract concept such as life,
whereas the source domain is typically a more concrete concept, such as a day.
According Kövecses (2002) mentions “The conceptual domain from which
we draw metaphorical expressions to understand another conceptual domain is
called source domain, while the conceptual domain that is understood this way is
the target domain. Thus, life, arguments, love. theory, ideas, social organizations,
and others are target domains, while journeys, war, buildings, food, plants, and
others are source domains. The target domain is the domain that we try to
understand through the use of the source domain”. For instance, “love is journey’’,
“love” is contrasted with a journey, describing it with the feature of “journey’’,
“love’’ is the tenor and “journey’’ is the machinery.
11


2.2.5. Metaphor and culture
Culture has been profoundly influenced in metaphorical images in English
and Vietnamese. In English, metaphor of love songs might be blue and misery but
hopeful in the bright future. In Vietnamese, they bring the bright color with
happiness, cheer at the beginning of the song but sadness in the end.
The important role of culture in metaphor is also clarified through two main
kinds of metaphors: ontological metaphors and structural metaphor. In structural
metaphor, one concept can structure another concept while in ontological
metaphors, a whole system of concepts is used to build another concept.
2.3. Previous studies
In English, the traditional views of metaphor were overturned when Lakoff and
Johnson (1980) put forward the new view of metaphor from cognitive perspective in
their book Metaphors We Live By. They argue that metaphor is a conceptual
phenomenon rather than a language phenomenon. The study of conceptual metaphor is
further developed by Kövecses. He gives a much detailed explanation of metaphor in
his book Metaphor: a practical introduction, which helps reader have a good
understanding of conceptual metaphor. Because of these two books, research on
metaphor has become one of the central fields of language research.
As for metaphors of love, beside the works of authors above, few studies
have been done through investigation. Xiaowei (2010) who studied “The love is a
unity metaphor in love song lyrics’. He illustrated various instances of the
subcategories of the Love is a unity metaphor and described them as a unity of two
complementary parts, physical closeness or the stability of a love relationship.
Madsen, M.W. (2016) studied “Cognitive Metaphor Theory and the
Metaphysics of Immediacy”. He pointed out the theory of cognitive metaphor and
the metaphysics of immediacy that helps readers have knowledge of cognitive
metaphor on theory.
Andrew (2007) researched ‘’Washing the Brain Metaphor and Hidden
Ideology’’. He extremely studied about the relation between metaphor, culture and
ideology. He argues that metaphor themes are created not only through the universal
body but also through cultural experience
12


In Vietnamese, Huyền, N.T.T (2009) studied “Ẩn dụ tri nhận trên cứ liệu ca
từ Trịnh Công Sơn’’. She analysised about the lyrics of Trinh Cong Son’ songs and
the life in these lyrics.
Thu, T.T.M (2015) studies “Ẩn dụ về con người trong ca dao Việt Nam dưới
góc nhìn văn hoá”. She takes some typical images of people and analyses them in
cultural views.
Tâm, Đ.T.H(2015) studied “ Ẩn dụ ý niệm miền đồ ăn trong tiếng Việt”. She
uses the popular and typical images in meal of Vietnamese people.
These works play an important role in constructing in language fundament
and instructing in using metaphors of love. However, up to now, no one has studied
about the semantic of metaphors of love songs in both languages English and
Vietnamese in the 20th century. Moreover, the number of collecting metaphors of
love are limited. Besides, the practical value of each study is still doubtful. It is the
reason why the writer has decided to do this work entitled “The semantics of
metaphors of love in English and Vietnamese song” with the hope to give the reader
the fantastic experience through the metaphorical images in love songs and help the
learners, teachers contribute their English.
2.4. Chapter summary
To sum up, in this chapter, the writer has tried to give a brief overview
of common knowledge involved to the metaphor and the previous works. Firstly,
the knowledge related to metaphors such as word and its meaning, change of
meaning and components of word meaning as well. Secondly, the concepts of
metaphor

including

definitions

of

metaphor,

conceptual

metaphors

and

classification of metaphors. Moreover, the researcher involved the metaphor and
culture and target domain and source domain of conceptual metaphor. Finally, the
previous studies of famous authors especially Lakoff and Johnson who put forward
the view of metaphors in their book. Actually, their work contributed to this
research more effectively. It helps the readers understand the fundamental
instruction about metaphors and also helps them apply in practical lesson which
serves for learning and teaching in their life.
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CHAPTER 3. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

3.1. The stereotypical metaphorical images of the love songs in English and
Vietnamese
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson identify three overlapping categories of
conceptual metaphors: ontological, structural or orientational metaphors.
3.1.1. Ontological metaphors
Ontological metaphors "are so natural and persuasive in our thought," say
Lakoff and Johnson, "that they are usually taken as self-evident, direct descriptions
of mental phenomena." Indeed, they say, ontological metaphors "are among the
most basic devices we have for comprehending our experience."
In general, ontological metaphors enable us to see more sharply delineated structure
where there is very little or none ... We can perceive of personification as a form of
ontological metaphor. In personification, human qualities are given to nonhuman
entities. Personification is very common in literature, but it also abounds in
everyday discourse. Ontological metaphors serve various purposes, and the various
kinds of metaphors there are reflect the kinds of purposes served.
3.1.1.1. Love is a concrete, a real object
a. Love is a concrete, a real object in English love songs
Like the experience of love itself, metaphors make connections. So it's no
surprise that love has been imagined, examined, and remembered through a wide
variety of figurative comparisons.
On one conventional conceptual metaphor, love is seen as an object which one
can give, receive or find.
For examples:
And it was all that you have given to me
I'm so thankful that I've received
The answer that heaven has sent down to me
Holding you so close to me
(Vision of Love- Mariah Carey)
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The phrases above all describe love in the same terms as real-life objects
which can be manipulated. Love occurs multiple times throughout the song and it
suggests that love can be described as a very precious gift. It not only describes love
as an almost divine answer to a life without loneliness, but also that it is like a
package one can send by mail. Additionally, she presents the idea that love is
related to the properties of the source concept object since “you” refers to love and
the idea that one needs to hold on to love when it eventually comes around. Love is
connected to an object one can hold in one's hand, embrace and hold on to, such as
a precious antique or a stuffed animal.
Besides, relationships as real objects are perceived to develop in a natural
order from infancy to maturity. They are born, they grow, they mature, they require
nurturing, and they can become dry and shriveled. They are like ‘’love’’. Basically,
people have five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch to receive knowledge
of things in the world around. The heart can use its’ eyes to catch the images of love
in these examples below:
Here's the morning that my heart had seen
Here's the morning that just had to come through
(The Carpenters /Those Good Old Dreams)
With angelic harmonies combined with Karen's incredible vocal range, it
seems to bring back so many good memories in the writer’s life. The eyes of the
heart are really sensitive and gentle to feel everything in the world, especially the
changes in love stories: love can be a virgin and fresh morning with the exciting
new feeling and full emotion of the lovers. It also can be a sunset when the souls are
closed and blue. It is not easy to have the sophistication in ones’ mind unless they
are in the real love.
Love is a part of mental life. It is familiar and essential as a part of body.
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
(Celine Dion-Because you love me)
By touching words and a magic voice, she has touched and made many people
teary eyed. An imagine is so emotional that it can make everyone arouse strong
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feelings of sympathy: lovers are the eyes and the light of each other no matter how
dark it is and how blind the lovers’ eyes are. Eyes are enough for them to go to
the end of life. He is every reason, every hope, and every dream she has ever had,
and no matter what happens to them in the future, everyday they are together is the
greatest day of my life. The writer has listened to this song many times and it
reminds the writer a lot of good memories in the past.
In feeling of lover, the heart is a melody, sound of which only lovers can hear:
Take my heart, don't lose it
Listen to your heart
(Modern Talking-Cherry lady)
Certainly, this song is one the most immortal song that everyone knows. It' s
hard to find words to tell how much lovers mean to each other. Probably, the
man doesn't say anything at all. But the girl will understand and realize how much
he loves her.
We can see sweet taste of love
You'll always be a part of me
If you should find you miss the sweet and tender love we used to share
(Naked Eyes -Always Something There To Remind Me)
If someone who says to you that, to the world you may be one person, but to
one person you are the world. This message means that ‘’You will always be a part
of me’’. That part belongs to body and it is indispensable in life. ‘’You’’ are all
what ‘’I’’ live for. ‘’You’’ and ‘’I’’ are grown up and together go through the
storms of life. My love for you is like a sweet and tender candy both taste. That
love reminds the wonderful memories which make their love be a beautiful happy
ending story.
Love can be the concrete things such as: the voice when a person couldn't
speak, the shoulder to cry on in the moment of disappointment, the strength or
power to make lovers stronger.
Here are some other examples:
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You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
(Celine Dion- because you love me)
Chiquitita, tell me the truth
I'm a shoulder you can cry on
And your love's a blown out candle
(ABBA -Chiquitita)
You cut away the heart of my life (Rockwell- knife)
You're the power and I'm in it
I've been a miner for a heart of gold
(Neil Young -Heart of Gold)
Ooh you're a holiday, every day, such a holiday
Now it's my turn to say, and I say you're a holiday
(Bee Gees -Holiday Lyrics)
Falling in love by someone makes him/her have extremely strength and a
positive energy to overcome every difficulty and challenge in life. Love is
miraculous that helps us ease the pain in our spirit. However, if in the hardest
situations, a person falls down to an abyss, the other will find the way to save her.
That strong person can do the craziest things such as break through the walls, walk
in the rain, wait for you all night long. They will a truthful people to love you
through the pain, pull you from the dark life and be reliable shoulders to lean and
cry whenever you need.
b. Love is a concrete, a real object in Vietnamese love songs
Con mắt còn lại nhìn cuộc tình phai
( Trịnh Công Sơn- Con mắt còn lại)
The verb ‘’ seen’’ in English it means that become aware of something from
observation or from a written or other visual source. In this sentence, he wants to
imply that in spite of bright eyes, he looks at ‘’his love’’ getting worse and faded
with the time. It is really painful and unsetting.
Other song relates to beach and love:
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Ngày mai em đi
biển nhớ tên em gọi về
gọi hồn liễu rũ lê thê
gọi bờ cát trắng đêm khuya
(Trịnh Công Sơn- Biển nhớ)
In this song, the musician has referred to the memory about lover such as the
sea, the soul or the sand beach. All of these imagines are to remind the beloved and
to show his missing. In stead of telling that ‘’I miss you’’, he expresses his love by
making lyrics more haunting with interesting imagines.
Tình yêu mật ngọt, mật ngọt trên môi
(Trịnh Công Sơn- Lặng lẽ nơi này)
The musician regards the love as honey and it is very sweet on your lips. We
can eat it anytime we want like we can love anyone if our heart is bumping.
3.1.1.2. Love is a living creature
a. Love is a flower or plant
+ Love is a flower or plant in English love songs
For many people falling in love, love is anything that they like and rose is a
symbol of love. Therefore, in many love song’s lyrics, rose is considered to be a
typical imagine and compared with the love colorfully.
My Love is like a Red, Red Rose
That’s newly sprung in June
(Robert Burns- My Love is like a Red, Red Rose)
The red is referred this sentence twice that emphasizes the sweet of love. It also
reminds us to be grateful and keep the color of love be fresh as it was.
A part of the plant can represent the whole, the growth of the plant can
represent the development of love, the flowering of the plant can represent the best
of times in a love relationship, the fruits can represent beneficial consequences
of the love (such as children), and so on
When a dozen red roses came my way
Warmed up my heart
(Minogue- Count the Days)
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