Metaphors Used in the Conceptualisation of Happiness

University of Nis
Faculty of Philosophy
English Department

Term Paper for the Semantics Course (Autumn 2008 – Spring 2009)

Metaphors Used in the Conceptualization of HAPPINESS

Lecturer:                                                                 Student:
Prof. Djordje Vidanovic, Ph.D.                             Ana Panajotovic

                                                  May, 2009
      Current approaches in cognitive linguistics emphasize the importance of metaphor in language, and they consider it an essential and indispensable phenomenon in both language and thought (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). In fact, the importance of metaphor and its study in language is supported by Lakoff and Johnson’s vital proposal about the pervasiveness of metaphors in everyday life, and how this pervasiveness can be observed in language, thought and action (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, p. 3). In other words, they believe that many of the fundamental concepts of our conceptual system are inherently metaphorical and cannot be characterized non-metaphorically. These metaphorical concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. In this approach, there is a distinction between conceptual metaphors and metaphorical linguistic expressions. In conceptual metaphors, one domain of experience is used to understand another domain of experience. The conceptual domain that we try to understand is called the target domain and the conceptual domain that we use for this purpose is the source domain. Understanding one domain in terms of another involves a set of fixed correspondences (technically called mappings) between a source and a target domain. This set of mappings obtains between basic constituent elements of the source domain and basic constituent elements of the target. To know a conceptual metaphor is to know the set of mappings that applies to a given source-target pairing. It is these mappings that provide much...