The role metaphor plays in language is viewed differently by scholars in different fields. The extremes are the classical view based on Aristotle's writings about metaphor and the Romantic view. Those that follow the classical view see metaphor as a purely literary device used to decorate language and those that follow the Romantic view believe absolutely all language is metaphorical (Saeed 1997). While Cognitivists lean toward the Romantic view, they don't go as far as to say that all language is metaphorical; however, they do claim that metaphor is found in everyday life, not only in language but in thought and actions as well (Lakoff and Johnson 1980). Needless to say, the various theories of metaphor and its function are abundant and a complete review of metaphor is beyond the scope of this paper. I will therefore give some general background information about metaphor and then focus on ANIMAL for HUMAN metaphor.
[...] In conclusion, because of the history of the use of ANIMAL for HUMAN metaphor in fables, as well as the continued use of ANIMAL for HUMAN metaphor attributed to the“Great Chain of Being” the primary metaphor of ANIMAL for HUMAN offers a generic pattern that continues to produce new and extended metaphors in individual words as well as compound words. References Benczes, Reka Blending, Metaphor and Metonymy in Exocentric Compounds. Electronic document, http://www.cerebro.psych.cornell.edu/emcl/longabs/rb.pdf, accessed February Benczes, Reka Metaphor- and Metonymy-Based Compounds in English: A Cognitive Linguistic Approach. [...]
[...] For example, in the sentence, ran the race like a snail,” the source domain is the snail, the target domain is the person running and it is the property of slowness that likens the runner to a snail. In sum, the difference between metaphor and simile is the transference of a property or properties. The metaphoric concept is the source domain, the literal concept is the target domain and transference occurs because the target domain is implicit. Metaphors are usually classified as either living or dead, though it is often hard to distinguish the difference as language is constantly changing. [...]
[...] Journal of Pragmatics 37.1595 -1614. Kieltyka, Robert and Kleparski, Grzegorz A. n.d. The Ups and Downs of the “Great Chain of Being”: the Case of Canine Zoosemy in the History of English. Electronic document, http://www.skase.sk/Volumes/JTL02/03.pdf, accessed September Lakoff, George and Johnson, Mark Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Lakoff, George & Turner, Mark More than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Langacker, Ronald W [...]
[...] While the metaphoric interpretation of a particular animal may be based on different characteristics when that animal is used on its own as a metaphor compared to when it is used in a compound, the fact remains that the primary metaphoric pattern of referring to people as animals sets up the option for a metaphoric interpretation based on any number of shared characteristics. In other words, primary metaphors offer generic patterns for future metaphoric blends. This idea is parallel to Ryder's (1994) theory of linguistic templates. [...]
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