CRITIQUE ON METAPHORS WE LIVE BY

1/22/16

I really enjoyed “Metaphors We Live By” by Lakoff and Johnson. They were very clear and concise. You can tell the reading was aimed towards a more general audience as opposed to Mchphersons essay, who was a little more technical with her writing. After reading these chapters, I felt very enlightened by language and culture. It had never occurred to me how much of our expressions and language processes are actually metaphorical. The arguments in the chapters were very straightforward and presented examples of expressions and phrases that we hear or have heard before.

Lakoff and Johnson starts off by explaining how “even our deepest and most abiding concepts, time, events, causation, morality, and mind itself are understood and reasoned about via multiple metaphors.” So basically he is saying how metaphors impacts and structure our lives and are essentially programmed into our sensory-motor experience. Metaphors aren’t just forms of speech but it can also be a path that leads to our conceptual system. Another example: “metaphors as linguistic expressions are possible precisely because there are metaphors in a person’s conceptual system” (page 6). They are trying to dissect the idea of conceptual metaphors. So if we were to take in the concept of how we use “time” and how the structure of it can be perceived. It could be used like this: “You’re wasting my time.” Other common expressions casts these metaphors and show the use of the metaphor not just in the way we talk about time, but the way we conceptualize it too. “I’ve invested a lot of time in her.” Or “Time is money.” These phrases are used a lot and are rarely every considered metaphorical by most English speakers. However, the phrase associated with money shows the metaphorical way we think and speak about time.

I notice metaphors being used in social Medias such as Facebook, Twitter etc. Social media is a breeding ground for people to be able to express themselves freely. I remember going on Yik Yak a while back and seeing the term “Netflix and Chill.” I had no idea at the time that that term could be used for sexual requests. The term Netflix and chill can be a complex term that can differ based on someone else’s experience and create a different metaphor for others. Digital space has also allowed people to shaped words, phrases and emotions into images. They are used to replace or almost enhance a words meaning. For example, there is this hilarious meme of a raggedy Elmo puppet with flames behind it. People use that to symbolize they are going through a tough time.

elmo

Now, I don’t know what pentakill is, but I know that people use this image and they may write something else such as “Just finished studying for my exam” or they will list all the things they need to get done that day with the flaming elmo image at the top.

Lipton_Kermit

This image of Kermit drinking tea also insinuates a “I don’t care” vibe. This can be used to reply to someone who is being rude to you. You can also put a sassy reply with this image or even this image alone says a lot. It’s interesting how certain phrases and words help people to interpret culture around them. I now am becoming more aware of how metaphors have established themselves through physical and cultural experiences.

 

 

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