Emotion Metaphors in New Englishes: A Corpus-Based Study of Emotion Concepts in Institutionalized Second-Language Varieties of English
The present study examined emotion metaphors in the so-called “New Englishes”. New Englishes have emerged worldwide as varieties (in regions like West Africa, East Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia) that have developed or are in the process of developing their own variety-specific features and...
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|Summary:||The present study examined emotion metaphors in the so-called “New Englishes”. New Englishes have emerged worldwide as varieties (in regions like West Africa, East Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia) that have developed or are in the process of developing their own variety-specific features and preferences. Emotion metaphors are understood in this study as conceptual metaphors in accordance with Conceptual Metaphor Theory by Lakoff & Johnson (1980). Conceptual metaphors are the stuff of cognition, language and behavior and provide insight into the fundamentally metaphorical nature of our conceptual systems.
The central assumption of the present study concerned how the diverse linguistic and socio-cultural aspects surrounding the New Englishes could potentially motivate the manner in which these varieties conceptualize the emotions, i.e. New English emotion metaphors will vary in a culturally specific way. Although emotional experience belongs to basic human experience (including bodily experience), which would speak to a more universal tendency in the conceptualization of emotion, it was, nevertheless, assumed that emotion concepts have the potential to be filtered via the unique cultural aspects underlying these varieties. Furthermore, this would then be visible on the linguistic level in the form of metaphors, acting as a good indicator for the presence of cultural-specific conceptualizations of emotions, especially when emotion metaphors attributable to New English varieties are compared to emotion metaphors attributable to a (former) norm-providing variety, like British English.
In order to determine to what extent New English emotion metaphors differ from or are similar to British English emotion metaphors, a corpus-based study was conducted with the GloWbE corpus (Corpus of Global Web-Based English). On the basis of “Metaphorical Pattern Analysis” (Stefanowitsch 2006) and the “Metaphor Identification Procedure Vrije Universiteit” (Steen et al. 2010), a method was developed to aid the extraction and identification of linguistic metaphors in the corpus data. The linguistic metaphors were assumed to reflect conceptual metaphors in the conceptual systems of the individual speakers and, as such, were classified according to the source domain involved (e.g. ANGER IS FIRE (I burned with rage)). This step also involved multiple levels of granularity. The corpus-based data from six New English components (Nigeria, Kenya, India, Singapore) of the GloWbE corpus were compared with each other and with data from a reference variety, i.e. British English.
The empirical part of the present study was divided into three case studies. Each case study was devoted to the exploration of one emotion concept and its metaphors in the New Englishes. The first case study explored the concept of ANGER, while the second and third delved into the concepts of FEAR and HAPPINESS, respectively.
The results of the case studies demonstrated that the initial assumption concerning emotion metaphor variability does not entirely hold for the New Englishes. There were no significant indicators that the varieties act differently when it comes to metaphorizing emotion concepts. This was particularly true for very frequent metaphors, e.g. ANGER IS A PERSON or ANGER IS A FLUID IN A CONTAINER. Therefore, it was concluded that the motivational basis for most of the New English and British emotion metaphors could be explained in reference to the embodiment hypothesis, which views our physical and bodily experience as the basis for conceptualization. Nevertheless, some differences emerged with regard to very infrequent metaphors, e.g. ANGER IS FOOD / DRINK, which due to their small numbers did not lend themselves well to statistical analysis. Yet, it is perhaps the case that it is their infrequency that necessitates creativity, which, in turn, would lend itself more readily to cultural filtration as a motivational basis.|
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