AuthorYu, Ning, 1954-
AdvisorHill, Jane H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe primary objective of this dissertation is to contribute to the contemporary theory of metaphor from the viewpoint of Chinese, so as to help place the theory into a wider cross-linguistic and cross-cultural perspective. Aiming at this primary objective, it explores two major questions faced by the contemporary theory: (1) if abstract reasoning is at least partially metaphorical in nature; and (2) what conceptual metaphors are universal, widespread, or culture-specific. It focuses on two conceptual metaphors--the scTIME-AS-SPACE metaphor and the Event Structure Metaphor--which have been proposed as candidates for metaphorical universals. The study shows how time in Chinese is conceptualized in terms of space and motion, fit into the two-case model proposed by Lakoff for English. In case 1, time is conceptualized as moving objects toward and past a stationary Observer; in case 2, time is conceptualized as bounded locations through which the Observer travels. It also suggests that a third case, in which the Observer travels along with a time-object through time-locations, is necessary for both Chinese and English. It is shown that Chinese and English not only follow the same principle of spatialization of time, but also share the same directionality parameter: the future is ahead of, and the past is behind, the Observer. This study also shows that in Chinese various aspects of event structure such as states, changes, causes, actions, purposes, means, and difficulties are conceptualized metaphorically in terms of space, motion, and force, just as in English. The conceptual mappings at a high hierarchical level of the metaphor system are found the same in both English and Chinese, whereas the specific linguistic instantiations of those conceptual mappings may be similar or different between the two languages. This study reinforces the view that metaphor is the main mechanism through which we comprehend abstract concepts and perform abstract reasoning. It also supports the candidacy of the scTIME-AS-SPACE metaphor and the Event Structure Metaphor for metaphorical universals. These two conceptual metaphors are grounded in some basic human experiences that may be universal to all human beings.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching