Spatial Metaphors for Morality: A Perspective from Chinese

Metaphor and Symbol 31 (2):108-125 (2016)
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This study aims to contribute to the research on spatial metaphors for morality from the perspective of Chinese. It outlines the linguistic patterns in Chinese that manifest the putative underlying spatial subsystem of moral metaphors, which can be summarized by a central metaphor “MORALITY IS SPATIALITY.” In doing so, it focuses on 17 spatial words that instantiate in real-life discourses five pairs of moral–spatial metaphors in their positive and negative valence. The total of 10 metaphors under study forms a cluster as the spatial metaphor subsystem operating in conjunction and connection with other metaphor subsystems in our moral cognition. It is suggested that the 10 conceptual metaphors emerge from four image schemas: UP-DOWN, BALANCE, PATH, and OBJECT. A unified schematic configuration is proposed to lay out the spatial elements and relations represented by the four image schemas in a single diagram. Based on its linguistic analysis, the study also provides a list of prototypical target as...



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