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Summary Details

Query:   Lexicalization and Metaphors
Author:  Denis Jamet
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Pragmatics

Summary:   For Query: Linguist 11.962

Dear Linguists, I received some answers concerning my request on the
lexicalization and the translation of metaphors.
I warmly thank all those who answered me -- Thomas Li (suggests Lakoff
and Jonhson's works),

Tim Dunnigan, who wrote an article published in the _Journal of
Cross-Cultural Psychology_ (Vol. 24, No. 3, September 1993, 344-365)
regarding the lexicalization and translation of metaphors. The title of
the article is "The Problem of Metaphorical Nonequivalence in
Cross-Cultural Survey Research: Comparing the Mental Health Statuses of
Hmong Refugee and General Population Adolescents."

also Paul W. Kilpatrick, who suggests an unusual source: An
Encyclopaedia of Translation: chinese-english, english-chinese --ed. by
Sin-Wai, Chan and D.E. Pollard published by Chinese University Press
1995 has a chapter on metaphor translation that's quite good, Paul
Ricoeur, 'The Rule of Metaphor is helpful' and Benjamin Keach
'Tropologia: Rule for Understanding Biblical Metaphors' has been
reprinted (perhaps under a different title) in America by Eerdmans, i
believe. It was first published 2-300 years ago in England.

Zouhair Maalej gave me a lot of references

Alvarez, Antonia (1993). "On Translating Metaphor." Meta, 38: 3,
Crofts, Marjorie (1988). "Translating Metaphors." ARAL, 11: 1, 47-53.
Dagut, M.B. (1976). "Can 'Metaphor' Be Translated?" Babel, 32: 1,
_________ (1987). "More about the Translatability of Metaphor." Babel,
33: 2, 77-83.
Dobrzynska, Teresa (1995). "Translating Metaphor: Problems of
Meaning." Journal of Pragmatics
24, 595-604.
Fung, Mary M.Y. & K.L. Kiu (1987). "Metaphor across Language and
Culture." Babel, 33: 2,
Hines, Caitlin (1994). " 'Let me Call You Sweetheart': The WOMAN AS
DESSERT Metaphor." In:
Mary Bucholz, A.C. Liang, Laurel Sutton & Caitlin Hines (eds.),
Cultural Performances: Proceedings
of the Third Berkeley Women and Language Conference. Berkeley,
California: University of
California, 295-303.
____________ (1996). "What's so Easy about Pie?: The Lexicalization of
a Metaphor." In: A.E.
Goldberg (ed.), Conceptual Structure, Discourse and Language.
Stanford: CSLI
___________ (1999). "Foxy Chicks and Playboy Bunnies: A Case Study in
Lexicalization." In: Masako K. Hiraga, Chris Sinha & Sherman Wilcox
(eds.), Cultural, Psychological
and Typological Issues in Cognitive Linguistics.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins
Publishing Company, 9-23.
Lakoff, George (1987). Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. What
Categories Reveal about the
Mind. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press.
_____________ (1993). "The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor." In: A.
Ortony (ed.), Metaphor and
Thought (second edition). Cambridge: C.U.P., 202-251.
Lakoff, George & Mark Johnson (1980). Metaphors We Live By.
Chicago/London: The University
of Press.
__________________________(1999). Philosophy in the Flesh. The
Embodied Mind and its
Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books.
Lakoff, George & Mark Turner (1989). More than Cool Reason. A Field
Guide to Poetic Metaphor.
Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press.
Maalej, Zouhair (1999). "Metaphor Making and Processing." Journal of
Literary Semantics, 28: 2,
______________ (1999). "Metaphoric Discourse in the Age of Cognitive
Linguistics, with Special
Reference to Tunisian Arabic." Journal of Literary Semantics, 28: 3,
______________ (1999). "Translating Metaphor between Unrelated
Cultures: A Cognitive Approach."
Paper read at the Third International Conference on Researching and
Applying Metaphor (RAAM III):
Metaphor across Languages: Translation and Intercultural
Communication, Including Literature). The
Mandelblit, Nili (1995). "The Cognitive View of Metaphor and its
Implications for Translation
Theory." In: Translation and Meaning PART 3. Maastricht: Universitaire
Press, 483-495.
Mason, Kirsten (1982). "Metaphor and Translation." Babel 28, 140-149.
Tabakowska, Elzbieta (1993). Cognitive Linguistics and Poetics of
Translation. T?bingen: Gunter
Narr Verlag.
Van Besien, Fred & Katja Pelsmaekers (1988). "The Translation of
Metaphor." In: Paul Nekeman
(ed.), Proceedings of XIth World Congress of FIT (Translation, our
Future), Maastricht: Euroterm,
Van Den Broeck, Raymond (1981). "The Limits of Translatability
Exemplified by Metaphor
Translation. Poetics Today, 2: 4, 73-87.

Dr Zouhair Maalej,
Department of English, Chair,
Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences,
Tunis-Manouba, 2010, TUNISIA.
Home Tel/Fax: (+216) 1 362 871
Office phone: [+216] 1 600 700
Office fax: [+216] 1 520 910

if you're interested, have a look at Zouhair Maalej's URL:
There are excellent articles

and finally Ulrike Irmler
This is a very interesting topic indeed. I work as a terminologist in
the computer industry and am not really involved in doing any
interesting research on metaphors, but I know we have a lot of this in
computer terminology. (i.e. mouse, desktop, ). A lot of terms for
interface elements fall into this category and also technical terms
(i.e. cookie) tend to be borrowed from other domains or general language
Here is an interesting article that is a few years old already, but
pretty good: Ingrid Meyer, Victoria Zaluski and Kristen Mackintosh (1)
Metaphorical Internet terms: A conceptual and structural analysis in
Terminology 4:1 (1997).
You can download glossaries (extensive bi-lingual string lists) of
Microsoft products for all languages from There you would at
least have a corpus in which this kind of stuff occurs and depending on
your foreign language background, could analyse how different languages
translate these metaphors, I know that some are more tolerant toward
metaphors than others.

Thanks to everyone

Denis Jamet
University Jean Moulin - Lyon 3
English Department, Lyon, FRANCE

LL Issue: 11.1036
Date Posted: 06-May-2000
Original Query: Read original query


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