Does Conceptual Metaphor Emerge from Metaphoric Language

Volume 14
Issue 3
Raymond W. Gibbs Jr.
A significant claim within contemporary metaphor scholarship is that many linguistic metaphors arise from widely-held metaphors in thought, or conceptual metaphors. People speak metaphorically to the extent that they do, because they think metaphorically about many abstract ideas and events. Moreover, these metaphoric concepts emerge, primarily, from recurring aspects of bodily experience, such that metaphoric concepts and language is seen as embodied to a significant degree. Daniel Sanford offers a different perspective of where metaphoric concepts come from by suggesting how these emerge from tokens of linguistic metaphor. Verbal metaphors do not arise from metaphoric concepts, but metaphoric concepts may arise from repeated patterns of verbal metaphor use. My article acknowledges the possible importance of verbal metaphor in the creation of conceptual metaphors, but strongly argues that language along cannot explain the specifics of metaphoric thinking or why we talk about topics in the metaphoric ways we do.

Key words: metaphor, metaphoric concepts, linguistic input, embodied metaphor, conceptual metaphor theory, emergent metaphor theory