An examination of metaphor from Old English to present day English, focusing on notions of intelligence/cleverness and stupidity

Allan, Kathryn Louise (2003) An examination of metaphor from Old English to present day English, focusing on notions of intelligence/cleverness and stupidity. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Until recently, studies of metaphor and metonymy within cognitive linguistics have tended to rely on data collected on a fairly ad hoc basis from speakers' intuition, resulting in a largely theory-based method of analysis. In this thesis I present an analysis of the concept INTELLIGENCE, based on HTE data. By examining the etymologies of individual words and their roots I have identified a number of source concepts for INTELLIGENCE, and I consider the motivations that underlie these mappings. I hope to illustrate that the mechanisms of different mappings vary substantially; my evidence suggests that no one theory of metaphor is sufficient to account for all the mappings that characterise a single target concept, and that the crucial role of culture, as well as cognition, must be recognised. I have analysed a total of 1075 nouns and adjectives meaning a clever/stupid person, and clever/stupid. Although my study is not intended to be quantitative, I have used quantity as a very basic indication of the source fields that are particularly productive and therefore characterise our conceptualisation of intelligence. In the main part of the thesis, the source concepts the SENSES, ANIMALS and DENSITY are analysed in detail. These exhibit major differences in motivation, and each one raises particular theoretical issues. By taking a data-centred approach to a whole semantic area, and by looking from a historical as well as a cognitive perspective, I give an overview of a whole target concept. I hope that my analysis will challenge and illuminate both understanding of the way INTELLIGENCE is conceptualised, and beliefs about the motivations and mechanisms of figurative language. Above all, I wish to demonstrate the relevance and importance of diachronic language study in any consideration of metaphor.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Christian Kay
Keywords: Linguistics
Date of Award: 2003
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2003-72498
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72498

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