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Mateusz-Milan Stanojević; Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu


Although conceptual metaphor (Lakoff and Johnson 1980) is undoubtedly one of the fundamental segments in various cognitive linguistic theories, there are still many disputes concerning its motivation, cultural specificity, and processing. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of key theoretical issues, unifying them into a coherent model which may be used as the basis for operationalization. The paper deals with two major problems: the motivation of conceptual metaphors and their dynamicity. We present an integrated approach to conceptual metaphor. On the one hand, we recognize the dynamicity of metaphor as a cognitive mechanism of connecting two domains of knowledge in real time. On the other hand, we do not exclude the conventionality of certain connections, thus enabling a general conceptual and textual analysis. The duality of metaphor is also reflected in their motivation. Rather than separating cultural motivation and embodiment, we argue for an approach in which conceptual metaphor is seen as equally grounded in cultural and embodied experiences which are part of central knowledge. Central knowledge is a metonymical principle motivating conceptual metaphors within a certain community. Central knowledge is construed by and dependent on the cultural community, constraining the scope of what may be seen as culturally–universal or culturally–specific. Common embodied and cultural experiences motivate the creation of similar metaphors, and divergent experiences (or different interpretations of the same experience) cause variation. In the object vs. process debate we advocate the middle way. On the one hand, we recognize the dynamicity of conceptual metaphors as a construal process in real time, analyzable in terms of conceptual integration. On the other hand, we do not reject the possible conventionality of some connections, recognizing the analytical convenience of conceptual metaphors as static entities in conceptual and textual analysis.


conceptual metaphor; motivation; central knowledge; conceptual integration; metaphors; cognitive linguistics


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