LINGUIST List 15.2330

Wed Aug 18 2004

Qs: Evaluating the Cognitive Approach to Metaphor

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  1. Imogen Osborn, Evaluating the cognitive approach to metaphor
  2. Nooshin Vaziri, Q. English for students of computer science

Message 1: Evaluating the cognitive approach to metaphor

Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2004 17:28:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: Imogen Osborn <>
Subject: Evaluating the cognitive approach to metaphor

I am a student currently preparing a dissertation on metaphor for one
of my final-year undergrad papers. I am particularly interested in the
cognitive approach. I understand one of Lakoff & Johnson's views to be
that our early physical experiences shape how we think about the world
and so lead to the development of the metaphors we think in. For
example, a child associates hugs from a parent with love, and this
leads to the physical sensation of warmth, so therefore the child
associates love with warmth, leading to metaphors such as 'a warm
personality'. Also my understanding is that Lakoff & Johnson say that
everyone has the early experiences necessary to form these thought
structures, hence why we use the same metaphors. 

However, I have two questions. Firstly, would it not be possible to
find certain people whose early experiences were abnormal, for example
due to disability, maternal deprivation, being abandoned or isolated
to the extreme in childhood, and so on, such that they did not have
those necessary early experiences on the basis of which to form the
metaphors in which most people think? 

Secondly, has any research been carried out into this area - do Lakoff
& Johnson say anything on whether these kinds of experiences do seem
to affect people's use of metaphor? 

Has anyone looked in to these cases? (I can't think I'd be the first 
person to think of that kind of thing but I haven't found any 
literature about that - or maybe it's a silly idea.)

Imogen Osborn

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Message 2: Q. English for students of computer science

Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2004 10:45:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: Nooshin Vaziri <>
Subject: Q. English for students of computer science

Dear linguists,

I'm a PhD student of TESOL at Esfahan Azad university
of Iran. For a survey concerning English for Specific 
Purposes, I need an up-to-date inventory of criteria for 
selecting and analysing ESP books for students of 
computer sciences. I'm particularly interested in the 
global professional and academic needs of such 
university students. 

If you've got ANY clues or comments, please write to me 
at I'll post a summary to the list


Nooshin Vaziri 

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