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The Metaphors That Research Students Live By

"In this paper I report a study of the ways in which research students think about their research. I took a unique approach by using metaphor analysis to study the students' conceptions. The research students in this study were recruited for an on - line survey at an Australian research - intensive university in which they answered questions relating to their conceptions of research. Five categories of metaphors for research were arrived at which I have labelled metaphors of space, metaphors of travel, metaphors of action, metaphors of the body and metaphors of ordeal. These metaphors provide useful information about the ways that the students visualise their research and their conceptions of what it entails."

(Rod Pitcher, 2013)

Pitcher, R. (2013). 'The Metaphors That Research Students Live By'. The Qualitative Report, 18(36), 1-8. Retrieved from


Angela Brew • Australian National University • Claire Gubbins • Daniel Andriessen • George Lakoff • Gerlese Akerlind • Mark Johnsonmetaphor analysis • Metaphor Identification Procedure (MIP) • metaphors of action • metaphors of ordeal • metaphors of space • metaphors of the body • metaphors of travel • metaphors structure our thinking • Pragglejaz Group • research metaphors • research students • Rod Pitcher • Rudolf Schmitt • systematic process • Thomas Steger


Simon Perkins
16 NOVEMBER 2014

In cognitive linguistics metaphors are not simply stylistic devices but processes which enable understanding through the mapping of source domains onto target domains

"The conception of metaphor in cognitive linguistics contradicts the conception of metaphor in literary studies in fundamental ways: Metaphor is not a stylistic device, but an experiential and cognitive process, in which we use properties, relations, and entities that characterize one domain of experience and/or knowledge (source domain) to understand, think, plan, and talk about a second domain (target domain) that is different in kind from the first. [7]

According to CMT [conceptual metaphor theory], source domains come from everyday bodily perception and movement. They are grounded in embodied experience (grounding hypothesis). Source domains are needed to make sense of target domains. By definition, a conceptual metaphor is a unidirectional mapping across cognitive domains. The mappings are tightly structured and structure from a source domain is (partially) mapped onto a target domain. The mapping is highly selective, as there are ontological correspondences according to which entities in the source domain (agents, objects, trajectories and so forth) systematically correspond to entities in the target domain. The point is, that we do not copy structure from SD [source domains] to TD [target domains], but we import whole sets of knowledge / inferences / entailments from the source domain into the target domain. The mapping does not work according to an arbitrary rule, but it is a tightly packed, highly selective and constrained process that allows us to reason about abstract domains. [7]"

(Alexandra Jandausch, 2012)

[7] Lakoff, George (1997): "Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind". Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Jandausch, A. (2012). "Conceptual Metaphor Theory and the Conceptualization of Music". 5th International Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology. Montreal, Canada.

Fig.1. The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Passive Smoking: Shotgun [].

[The source domain in the following image refers to the concept of a shotgun, which through its mapping onto the target domain of the cigarettes communicates the idea that smoking kills.]



2012 • abstract conceptual relations • Alexandra Jandausch • analogue correspondence • argument is war • automated metaphorical mappings • basic metaphor theory • bodily movement • bodily perception • cognitive domain • cognitive linguistics • cognitive process • conceptual correspondence • conceptual domainconceptual metaphor • conceptual metaphor theory • conceptualisation of music • cross-modal metaphor • domain of experience • domain of knowledge • embodied experience • experiential process • Friedemann Pulvermuller • George Lakoff • Gilles Fauconnier • grounding hypothesis • image schema theory • image schemas • inference • inference patterns • Jay Seitz • Jean Mandler • literary studies • love is a journey • mapping • mappings • Mark Johnson • Mark Turner • metaphor • metaphoric relations • Michael Tomasello • mnemonic • movement-movement metaphor • musicology • ontological correspondence • patterns of semantic change • perceptual-affective metaphor • perceptual-perceptual metaphor • polysemyrepresentational thinkingrepresentational thinking expressed in metaphors • systematic correspondence • target-domain as source-domain • target-domain is source-domain • theories are buildings • theory of music • unconscious metaphorical mappings • unidirectional mapping • University of Cologne • Vittorio Gallese


Simon Perkins
16 APRIL 2007

Lakoff And Johnson's Conceptual Metaphor

"To account for the specific properties of both linguistic and visual media, an innovative approach combining linguistic and art–historical perspectives was chosen. Principles of the theory of conceptual metaphor developed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980, 1999; Lakoff, 1987, 1990, 1993; Johnson 1987, 1992, Sweetser 1987, 1990) were applied to images of grammar, collected in the iconographic tradition founded by Aby Warburg and Erwin Panofsky (1955; 1979). Lakoff and Johnson (1980) state that "our ordinary conceptual system, in terms we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature" (p. 3) and define the essence of metaphor as "understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another" (p. 5). They further posit that "meaning and value are grounded in the nature of our bodies and brains, and in our physical, social, and cultural environments" (Johnson 1992:346) and place the bodily, or sensorial perception in the centre of their theory claiming that embodied image–schemas conceptualize our experience at a non–propositional level (Johnson 1992:349). This study is based on the assumption that these image–schemas underlie both linguistic and pictorial expressions, and that our perceptual system and image–based reasoning is grounded not only in direct experience, but also conditioned by indirect experience mediated through cultural artifacts such as printed words and pictures.[1]

Johnson, Mark (1987): The Body in the Mind. The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason, Chicago.
Johnson, Mark (1992): ?Philosophical implications of cognitive semantics.?, in: Cognitive Linguistics, 3, 345–366.
Lakoff, George (1987): Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. What Categories reveal about the Mind, Chicago.
Lakoff, George (1990): ?The Invariance Hypothesis: ?Is abstract Reason based on Image–Schema???, in: Cognitive Linguistics, 1–1, 39–74.
Lakoff, George (1993): ?The contemporary theory of metaphor?, in: Ortony, Andrew (ed.), Metaphor and Thought. 2nd. ed., Cambridge, 202–251.
Lakoff, George/Johnson, Mark (1980): Metaphors we live by, Chicago.
Lakoff, George/Johnson, Mark (1999): Philosophy in the Flesh. The embodied mind and its challenge to western thought, New York.
Panofsky, Erwin (1955): Meaning in the Visual Arts, New York.
Panofsky, Erwin (1979): ?Zum Problem der Beschreibung und Inhaltsdeutung von Werken der bildenden Kunst?, in: Kaemmerling, Ekkehard (ed.): Bildende Kunst als Zeichensystem. Ikonographie und Ikonologie. Theorien–Entwicklung–Probleme, K?ln, 185–206.
Sweetser, Eve (1987): ?Metaphorical Models of Thought and Speech: a comparison of historical directions and metaphorical mappings in the two domains?, in: Aske, Jon/Beery, Natasha/Michaelis, Laura/Filip, Hana (edd.): Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, Berkeley, 446–459.
Sweetser, Eve (1990): From Etymology to Pragmatics: Metaphorical and Cultural Aspects of Semantic Structure, Cambridge."
(Irene Mittelberg)



Aby Warburgconceptual metaphor • conceptual system • cultural codes • cultural environments • experienceGeorge Lakoffgrammariconography • image-based reasoning • image-schemalinguisticMark Johnsonmeaningmediationmetaphor • Mittelberg • mnemonicMnemosyne Atlas • Panofsky • perceptual system • sensorial perception • Sweetser • visual media

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