Metaphoric representation of the concept "Love" in english proverbs

The definitions of the metaphors, their role in lingvoculture. History in literature and language. Metaphor as style in speech and writing. More than just a figure of speech. Representation of the concept "Love" metaphorically in english proverbs.

27.06.2011
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Ministry of Education of Russian Federation

North Caucasus State Technical University

Department of Linguistics, Intercultural Communication and Tourism

Metaphoric representation of the concept Love in English proverbs

Course paper in English Lexicology

Stavropol, 2011

Contents

Introduction

1. The definitions and classifications of the metaphors, their role in Lingvoculture

1.1 History in literature and language

1.2 Metaphor as style in speech and writing

1.3 Types and classifications of metaphors

1.4 Use outside of rhetoric

1.5 More than just a figure of speech

2. Representation of the concept Love metaphorically in English proverbs

Conclusion

References

Introduction

In modern linguistics the problems of analysis of particular concepts are so difficult and varied that they demand constant and deeper intrusion into its nature. The concept Love can be referred to such concepts.

The concepts take an important position in social linguistic consciousness, that's why its' research becomes extremely topical problem. The phenomenon of love is an object for study of many fundamental sciences and the part of many arts.

Although love is a universal concept presented in cultures of all nations, the idea of love has its own peculiarities in each culture. Sayings and proverbs precisely describe the mentality and norms of behavior of people. Love plays an important role in our life, that determines the topicality of our course paper.

The object of our research is English proverbs.

The subject of our course paper is analysis of the representation of the concept Love in English proverbs.

The aim of the present research is to study metaphoric representations of the given concept in English proverbs.

To achieve the given aim some tasks were put forward:

to determine metaphors and give its classifications of different scholars;

to give different types of metaphors and to consider some points about the history of metaphors;

to study the origin of the concept Love;

to study the English proverbs about love without this notion and to describe the metaphoric representation.

The material for this course paper was selected from dictionaries of English proverbs and sayings and etymological dictionaries.

The methods used in the present research include contrastive analysis, componential analysis, observation, comparison, summarizing.

1. The definitions and classifications of the metaphors, their role in lingvoculture

At the beginning of the 21th century new number of ideas and approaches to the study of language appeared where we can mention anthropocentrism, cognitivism and lingvoculturologism. Lingvoculturologism is the close connection of the language and culture of the people, the realizing of the development of language as the result of the creative activity of people. It correlates the language, consciousness, society, personality and culture.

Metaphor has traditionally been viewed as the most important form of figurative language use, and is usually seen as reaching its most sophisticated forms in literary and poetic language. Although they are very important stylistic devices in the literary language, they also are very important for conversational use. Metaphors are being used both in literary works and also in conversational language as the desire of people to enrich their language and make it more vivid. Also metaphors are very peculiar part of a language. In general, metaphors tend to represent abstract things - ideas, emotions, thoughts, feelings, etc. - in physical ways as objects or to represent things or events in the world in ways that reveal how we think or feel about them. Metaphors do not express the exact meaning of the words they consists of. Therefore, understanding of metaphors also shows the knowledge of the person who uses the in English language. [1:217]

According to the book A Course in modern English Lexicology, written by R. S. Ginzburg, metaphor may be described as a semantic process of associating two referents, one of which in some way resembles the other. [2:30]

I.V. Arnold suggested another definition of the metaphor: A metaphor is a transfer of name based on the association of similarity and thus is actually a hidden comparison. [3:64]

According to the Oxford Dictionary, metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. [4:743]

According to the Collins Dictionary, metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action that it does not literally denote in order to imply a resemblance. [5:832]

After carrying out the comparative analysis of the given above definitions of the concept metaphor, we can assume its' reasonably close conceptual - semantic similarity. We suppose that the best definition was given by R. S. Ginzburg and we will further follow this definition.

Metaphor is the concept of understanding one thing in terms of another. A metaphor is a figure of speech that constructs an analogy between two things or ideas, the analogy is conveyed by the use of a metaphorical word in place of some other word. For example: "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphors compare things without using "like" or "as." [6:54]

Metaphor is or was also occasionally used to denote rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance (e.g., antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy and simile, which are then all considered types of metaphor). Aristotle used both this sense and the regular. [7:132]

1.1 History in literature and language

Metaphor is present in the oldest written Sumerian language narrative, the Epic of Gilgamesh:

Beloved friend, swift stallion, wild deer, / leopard ranging in the wilderness - / Enkidu, my friend, swift stallion, wild deer, / leopard ranging in the wilderness - / together we crossed the mountains, together / we slaughtered the Bull of Heaven, we killed / Humbaba, who guarded the Cedar Forest - / O Enkidu, what is this sleep that has seized you, / that has darkened your face and stopped your breath?

In this example, the friend is compared to a stallion, a wild deer, and a leopard to indicate that the speaker sees traits from these animals in his friend (a comparison between two or more unlike objects).

The idea of metaphor can be traced back to Aristotle who, in his Poetics (around 335 BC), defines metaphor as follows: Metaphor is the application of a strange term either transferred from the genus and applied to the species or from the species and applied to the genus, or from one species to another or else by analogy. [8:451]For the sake of clarity and comprehension it might additionally be useful to quote the following two alternative translations: Metaphor is the application of an alien name by transference either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or by analogy, that is, proportion. [9: 659] Or, as Halliwell puts it in his translation: Metaphor is the application of a word that belongs to another thing: either from genus to species, species to genus, species to species, or by analogy". [10:223]

1.2 Metaphor as style in speech and writing

Viewed as an aspect of speech and writing, metaphor qualifies as style, in particular, style characterized by a type of analogy. An expression (word, phrase) that by implication suggests the likeness of one entity to another entity gives style to an item of speech or writing, whether the entities consist of objects, events, ideas, activities, attributes, or almost anything expressible in language. For example, in the first sentence of this paragraph, the word "viewed" serves as a metaphor for "thought of", implying analogy of the process of seeing and the thought process. The phrase, "viewed as an aspect of", projects the properties of seeing (vision) something from a particular perspective onto thinking about something from a particular perspective, that "something" in this case referring to "metaphor" and that "perspective" in this case referring to the characteristics of speech and writing.

As a characteristic of speech and writing, metaphors can serve the poetic imagination, enabling William Shakespeare, in his play "As You Like It", to compare the world to a stage and its human inhabitants players entering and exiting upon that stage; enabling Sylvia Plath, in her poem "Cut", to compare the blood issuing from her cut thumb to the running of a million soldiers, "redcoats, every one"; and, enabling Robert Frost, in "The Road Not Taken", to compare one's life to a journey. [11:187]

1.3 Types and classifications of metaphors

Metaphors are comparisons that show how two things that are not alike in most ways are similar in one important way. A metaphor is more forceful (active) than an analogy, because metaphor asserts two things are the same, whereas analogy implies a difference; other rhetorical comparative figures of speech, such as metonymy, parable, simile and synecdoche, are species of metaphor distinguished by how the comparison is communicated (The Oxford Companion to the English Language, 341). The metaphor category also contains these specialised types:

allegory: An extended metaphor wherein a story illustrates an important attribute of the subject;

catachresis: A mixed metaphor used by design and accident (a rhetorical fault);

parable: An extended metaphor narrated as an anecdote illustrating and teaching a moral lesson. [12:278]

According to classification, suggested by N. D. Arutyonova, all metaphors are divided into four groups:

1) Nominative mataphors, consisted of exchange of one descriptive meaning another and serve as the source of homonymy;

2) Figurative metaphors, which serve for developing figurative meanings and synonymic means of language;

3) Cognitive metaphors, occurred from the shift of compatibility predicate words and creating polysemy;

4) Generalized metaphors, which remove the frames in lexical meaning of the word between logic order and initiative occurrence of logical polysemy. [13:227]

More general classification of metaphors was suggested by Peter Newmark in his book A Textbook on Translation, all metaphors are divided into 6 types:

1) dead metaphor. It usually used in description of the time and space, geographical objects and human's activities, for example, field, top, foot, mouth, arm, fall, rise etc. The figurativeness in dead metaphors are completely removed, only its' semantic meaning is delivered;

2) metaphor-clich. This metaphor had lost its' esthetic component and uses more frequently in connotative function to express a thought with a lot of emotions;

3) stock metaphor. This metaphor is the effective way to describe concrete and abstract concepts, it has an emotional effect on reader, and, as opposed to the dead metaphor, stock metaphor has an active esthetic function.

4) adapted metaphor. This metaphor is applied to the author's occasional word;

5) recent metaphors are the metaphorical neologisms, many of which are anonymous and widely spread in source language, for example, with it/in it in the meaning of fashionable, pissed in the meaning of drunk.

6) original metaphors are the individually authoring metaphors, which are used by the author individually and do not spread in the everyday usage. Such metaphors reflect the author's style and personality and enrich the vocabulary of the target language. [14:142]

1.4 Use outside of rhetoric

The term metaphor is also used for the following terms that are not a part of rhetoric:

A cognitive metaphor is the association of an object to an experience outside the object's environment.

A conceptual metaphor is an underlying association that is systematic in both language and thought.

A root metaphor is the underlying worldview that shapes an individual's understanding of a situation.

A therapeutic metaphor is an experience that allows one to learn about more than just that experience.

A visual metaphor provides a frame or window on experience. Metaphors can also be implied and extended throughout pieces of literature. [15:188]

1.5 More than just a figure of speech

Some theorists have suggested that metaphors are not merely stylistic, but that they are cognitively important as well. In Metaphors We Live By George Lakoff and Mark Johnson argue that metaphors are pervasive in everyday life, not just in language, but also in thought and action. A common definition of a metaphor can be described as a comparison that shows how two things that are not alike in most ways are similar in another important way. They explain how a metaphor is simply understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another. The authors call this concept a `conduit metaphor.' By this they meant that a speaker can put ideas or objects into words or containers, and then send them along a channel, or conduit, to a listener who takes that idea or object out of the container and makes meaning of it. In other words, communication is something that ideas go into. The container is separate from the ideas themselves. Lakoff and Johnson give several examples of daily metaphors we use, such as argument is war and time is money. Metaphors are widely used in context to describe personal meaning. The authors also suggest that communication can be viewed as a machine: Communication is not what one does with the machine, but is the machine itself. [16:250]

2. Representation of the concept Love metaphorically in English proverbs

In the history of any culture the problems, concerning human relationships, such as love or friendship, played and still play an important role. People try to find out what is the meaning of love, why do we need to love someone and why is it so boring without love. However, these eternal questions have no definite answer and cause a lot of debates. None the less, the humanity still tries to comprehend the love phenomenon. Love as a complicated, multivariate phenomenon of the mental and emotional life is of great value for a lot of humanities and other disciplines, for example, philosophy, ethics, esthetics, study of art, psychology, sociology and political science.

In our research we will try to find out how English proverbs express the meaning of love without this definite word. In other words, which metaphors are used in these love proverbs.

First of all, let us consider some definitions of love taken from different dictionaries.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, love 1) a strong feeling of affection; 2) a strong feeling of affection and sexual attraction for someone; 3) affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one's behalf; 4) a formula for ending an affectionate letter; 5) a great interest and pleasure in something; 6) a person or thing that one loves; 7) a friendly form of address used in affectionate requests; 8) a score of zero; nil love fifteen. [4:603]

According to the MacMillan Dictionary, love - to be very strongly attracted to someone in an emotional and sexual way; to care very much about someone, especially members of your family or close friends; used about places, ideas etc,; to like or enjoy something very much. [17:734]

The following definition was given in the Cambridge Dictionary: love - to like another adult very much and be romantically and sexually attracted to them, or to have strong feelings of liking a friend or person in your family. [18:764]

In Marriam-Webster's Dictionary we found the following definition: love 1) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; 2) attraction based on sexual desire; 3) affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests, an assurance of affection; 4) warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion; 5) the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration; 6) a beloved person; 7) used as an informal term of address; 8) a score of zero. [19:554]

After analyzing definitions of the concept love, given above, we discovered several common features of all of these definitions:

1) strong feeling and affection to friends, family, love of a mother;

2) strong feeling, affection and passion for someone;

3) admiration, devotion of someone;

4) the formula of addressing;

5) happiness and marriage;

6) interest and pleasure.

On the basis if these features we found English proverbs with the meaning of love, but it is expressed with the help of other words, metaphorically. Here are these proverbs:

A devoted heart may move Heaven. This proverb is about the strength of love, its' power. There is no the exact word love, but we can suspect that this is love proverb due to the word devoted, because we can find the word devotion in the explanation of the concept love. So, we can guess that the devotion is the metaphor of the word love.

Passion will master you if you do not master your passion. This proverb is about the strength of passion. There is no definite word love, but we can guess that this is love proverb because of the word passion, as we can find the word passion in the explanation of the concept love. So, we can guess that the devotion is the metaphor of the word love.

When passion enters at the foregate, wisdom goes out of the postern. This proverb is also about the power of the passion and its' influence on our mind. There is no concrete word love, but we can guess that this is proverb about love because of the word passion, as we have already found out that the word passion is the metaphor of the word love.

Time and reflection temper a moment's passion. This proverb contains the word passion, which is also the metaphor of the concept love.

A kind heart is fountains of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles. This proverb is about love in the meaning of strong feeling or affection. It is the word kind that makes us know that this proverb is about love. As it was above, no word love is presented, but kindness is also the word, presented in the definitions of the concept love. One more metaphor of the concept love is the word kindness.

There are a lot of proverbs about such contradictory feeling as happiness and for a lot of people this feeling is associated with love. We have found a lot of English proverbs about happiness and all of them have the metaphorical meaning of love. The following proverbs are the examples of such English proverbs:

A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy. This proverb means that we make us happy ourselves and everything depends only on us. There is no exact word love, but we can suppose it to be love proverb because of the word happy, as we can find the word happiness in the explanation of the concept love. So, we can guess that the happiness is one more metaphor of the word love.

Happiness takes no account of time. This proverb means that when you are in love you don't care about anything. This proverb is about love in the meaning of strong feeling or affection and attraction. It is the word happiness that makes us know that this proverb is about love. Also no word love is presented, but happiness is also the word, presented in the definitions of the concept love. The word happiness is the metaphor of the concept love.

Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities. This proverb teaches us to do only good deeds for other people and everyone will be happy. As it was above, the word happiness is the metaphor of the concept love.

There is only one person who could ever make you happy, and that person is you. The meaning of this proverb is similar to the previous ones. And the metaphor is the same.

To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others. This proverb is about our personal happiness and this word is also the metaphor of the word love.

But nothing compares to the love of a mother and there are also a lot of proverbs about this strong and special feeling. Here are some of them:

Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. This proverb is about the strongest feeling in our world, about the love of a mother. We may find love of the mother in our definition of the concept love. Therefore, the word combination love of a mother is also the metaphor of the concept love.

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. Here is one more English proverb about mother's love. And, as we have discovered above, this is also the example of the metaphor love of a mother.

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. Mother's love compares here with the God's love.

The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Also love can be described with the help of such noun as marriage.

Marriages are made in heaven. There is no the exact word love, but we can suspect that this is love proverb due to the word marriage, because we can find the word marriage in the explanation of the concept love. So, we can guess that the marriage is the metaphor of the word love.

After analyzing English proverbs, we can say that love plays a very important role in our life and requires more detailed studying. There are a lot of English proverbs, concerning this feeling, which express different shades of love. As we have studied all proverbs given above, we can make a conclusion that the concept love can be expressed in English proverbs metaphorically, with the help of other nouns or adjectives. They are: devotion, passion, kindness, happiness, marriage and love of a mother. Pronouncing these words, people associate all of them with love.

Although love is a universal concept present in cultures of all nations, the idea of love has its own peculiarities in each culture. In addition, to understand more the attitude of English people to love, we have analyzed love proverbs, which contain the evaluation of people to this feeling.

On the basis of the English love sayings and proverbs, we assume that for English people:

1. Love is all-powerful, irrational; nothing and nobody can resist it. Love provides a stimulus to forgive, trust, worry about the destiny of the loved one; love transforms a person. It is impossible to love on order or at will; also, it is impossible to hide love. It is proved by such proverbs as: love makes the world go round; love makes all men equal; love rules his kingdom without a sword, love conquers all.

2. Love distorts the perception of reality. It is inexpressible in words and is maddening. New love expels an old one; separation kills love in some people and increases in the other. Love is a blessing; it is connected with hatred; it can be real and false. We have made such conclusion on the basis of the following proverbs: time, not the mind, puts an end to love; love and a cough cannot be hid; when love is greatest, words are fewest; whom we love best, to them we can say least; the greatest hate springs from the greatest love.

3. One can't buy love, but love depends on the material wealth and age. Choosing an object of love is unmotivated, but at the same time the internal, intuitive motive of the choice is evaluated positively. There are corresponding methods to get into graces of the object of adoration. Marriage is fatal for love. We may prove these words with the help of the following proverbs: love and knowledge live not together; love is without reason; love is without law; love needs no teaching; marry first, and love will follow; it is unlucky to marry for love; where there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.

4. Love is present in family relationships. Love between family members is an important aspect of love. It can be proved by such proverbs as: a mother's love never ages; no love to a father's, love the babe for her that bare it; a mother's love is best of all; he that loves the tree loves the branch.

Conclusion

metaphor proverb speech lingvoculture

In the last 30 years the interest to metaphors increases. Metaphors attract the attention of many scientists. Metaphor is usually defined as a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. Also it is the relations of contextual meaning, based on the similarity of characteristic of two concepts. Also this stylistic device has big importance in our language and metaphor is usually seen as reaching its most sophisticated forms in literary and poetic language. It decorates our speech and makes it vivid and varied. Metaphors are being used both in literary works and also in conversational language as the desire of people to enrich their language and make it more vivid. Also metaphors are very peculiar part of a language. In general, metaphors tend to represent abstract things - ideas, emotions, thoughts, feelings.

In the history of any culture the problems, concerning human relationships, such as love or friendship, played and still play an important role. People try to find out what is the meaning of love, why do we need to love someone and why is it so boring without love. However, these eternal questions have no definite answer and cause a lot of debates. None the less, the humanity still tries to comprehend the love phenomenon. Love as a complicated, multivariate phenomenon of the mental and emotional life is of great value for a lot of humanities and other disciplines, for example, philosophy, ethics, esthetics, study of art, psychology, sociology and political science.

Although love is a universal concept present in cultures of all nations, the idea of love has its own peculiarities in each culture. English love proverbs tell much about the attitude of English people to love. We analyzed the attitude to love on the basis of English proverbs because they precisely describe the mentality and norms of behavior of people.

After analyzing English proverbs, we can say that love plays a very important role in life of English people and requires more detailed studying. There are a lot of English proverbs, concerning this feeling, which express different shades of love. As we have studied many proverbs, we can make a conclusion that the concept love can be expressed in English proverbs metaphorically, with the help of other nouns or adjectives. They are: devotion, passion, kindness, happiness, marriage and love of a mother. Pronouncing these words, people associate all of them with love. And also in many proverbs love compares with a very strong feeling, which is very powerful and makes us blind. It connected with hatred, wealth and marriage.

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