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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 23, Issue 2 (May 2012)


Embodied motivations for metaphorical meanings

Marlene Johansson Falck,
  • Corresponding author
  • Umeå University
/ Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr.,
  • Corresponding author
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Email:
Published Online: 2012-04-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2012-0008


This paper explores the relationship between people's mental imagery for their experiences of paths and roads and the metaphorical use of path and road in discourse. We report the results of two studies, one a survey examining people's mental imagery about their embodied experiences with paths and roads, with the second providing a corpus analysis of the ways path and road are metaphorically used in discourse. Our hypothesis is that both people's mental imagery for path and road, and speakers' use of these words in metaphorical contexts are strongly guided by their embodied understandings of real-world events related to travel on paths and roads. The results of these studies demonstrate how bodily experiences with artifacts partly constrains not only how specific conceptual metaphors emerge, but how different metaphorical understandings are applied in talk about abstract entities and events.

Keywords:: Metaphor; Embodied simulation; Psycholinguistics; Corpus linguistics

About the article

Received: 2011-02-25

Accepted: 2011-11-20

Published Online: 2012-04-17

Published in Print: 2012-05-25

Citation Information: , ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2012-0008. Export Citation

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