Joseph E. Grady

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738632
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks



Metaphor has been a central topic within cognitive linguistics since the field was born and the term coined in the 1970s. This is partly a historical consequence of George Lakoff's dominant role and major contributions—metaphor was his focus at the time he and a number of colleagues were defining the field of cognitive linguistics, and continues to be today. Since the 1950s, Chomskyan linguists have been devising theories of syntax which largely exclude references to the meanings of linguistic structures; it is nearly impossible, though, to conceive of metaphor without taking into account the connections between lexical semantics, usage, and our understanding and perceptions of the world. This article discusses the basics of conceptual metaphor theory (CMT), including mapping, systematicity, asymmetrical directionality, and experiential motivation. It also considers primary metaphors and neural CMT, the cognitive reality of conceptual metaphors, conceptual integration (or “blending”), computational models of metaphor, and the link between metaphor and culture.

Keywords: George Lakoff; metaphor; conceptual metaphor theory; mapping; systematicity; asymmetrical directionality; experiential motivation; computational models; conceptual integration; culture

Article.  11724 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Semantics

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