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The Prominence of “ANIMAL for HUMAN” Metaphor

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  1. Introduction
  2. The role metaphors plays in language
  3. Classification of metaphors
  4. Blending
  5. Productivity of metaphor among other members of a chain
  6. Example of the prominence of animal metaphor
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

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,, 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. [...]

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