In cognitive linguistics, conceptual metaphor, or cognitive metaphor, refers to the understanding of one idea, or conceptual domain, in terms of another. A conceptual domain can be any coherent organization of human experience. The regularity with which different languages employ the same metaphors, which often appear critical reading and writing goatly pdf be perceptually based, has led to the hypothesis that the mapping between conceptual domains corresponds to neural mappings in the brain. This theory has gained wide attention, although some researchers question its empirical accuracy.
This idea, and a detailed examination of the underlying processes, was first extensively explored by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in their work Metaphors We Live By. Other cognitive scientists, for example Gilles Fauconnier, study subjects similar to conceptual metaphor under the labels “analogy”, “conceptual blending” and “ideasthesia”. Conceptual metaphors are seen in language in our everyday lives. Conceptual metaphors shape not just our communication, but also shape the way we think and act.
An example of one of the commonly used conceptual metaphors is “argument is war”. This metaphor shapes our language in the way we view argument as war or as a battle to be won.
It is not uncommon to hear someone say “He won that argument” or “I attacked every weak point in his argument”. The very way argument is thought of is shaped by this metaphor of arguments being war and battles that must be won. Argument can be seen in other ways than a battle, but we use this concept to shape the way we think of argument and the way we go about arguing. Conceptual metaphors are used very often to understand theories and models.