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The Fourth International Conference on Researching and Applying Metaphor

 April 2001, Tunis



Metaphors in cultural surface and knowledge


Carlo Grevy

Center for Lexicography, The Aarhus School of Business
Fuglesangs AllÚ 4, DK-8210 Aarhus N

Phone (home): +45 7572 7255, e-mail: olr@c.dk
Home page: http://grevy.adr.dk

Literature etc.

Can be found on my homepage: http://grevy.adr.dk/litterat.htm.

Transparanties used in this talk can be found at: http://grevy.adr.dk/metaphor/m4417.htm


The system


The scenarios


1. The non-human area

1.1. Reification

1.2. Botany

1.3. Animals


2. Human activities and rooms

2.1. Human activities

2.2. Various human social rooms.

2.2.1. Basic rooms for survival (production)

2.2.2. Social rooms outside the production

2.2.3. Art & culture

2.2.4. Social rooms without control

2.2.5. Social rooms diachronic


3. Orientation / movement

3.1. Physical rooms

3.2. Psychological rooms


1. The non-human area


1.1. Reification / Inanimate things

"Radio Data Packet Transmission"

"Note - if you have problems unpacking any of the following files…"

"Maps and Data Store"

"Integrated Data Communications Services Homepage"

"Check the order of text flows"

"Hot Page System updates for Information Technology"

(Physical, bodily attributes)

"Cold facts - the quarterly publication of CSA"

"Golden Networks Computer Help"

(Metal– inner qualities)


1.2. Botany

Activities (be in flower, to grow, to mature)

Results (to ennoble)

Objects (apples, fruits, trees)


"The writer plucks some of the fruits of authorship"


1.3. Animals

Animals (predators, reptiles etc.)

Other indications (living or dead "The Dead Pizza Files")


Sensitivity ("Note that most web servers are case-sensitive")


2. Human activities and rooms (including personification)

2.1. Human activities

Activities and conditions (make one’s contribution to…be well mannered, fall between two stools – rule, manage, be generous)

Mental activities (to be intelligent, be awake, be grown up)

Communication (talk, use language, to communicate, to read, to write)

Perceive (see, hear, feel, watch, look after)

Solving problems


Glory and honor (respectable)


Proper names (Einstein, Mona Lisa)

Related to the human body


2.2. Various human social rooms

2.2.1. Basic rooms for survival / Production

Societies bases on hunting and fishing (hunting, fishing)


Trade (tools)

Trade (arranging, organizing, being concerned about the architecture, testing, constructing, and strike while the iron is hot)

Industry (machinery, engines, gears, overdrives, mechanics, workers)

Sale and service (to offer, to introduce, to deliver)


2.2.2. Social rooms outside the production 1

Parties (dance with the program)

Entertainment (acrobat)

Warnings, accidents (alarm bell, funeral)



Policy (anarchy, machine breaker)

Law, jurisprudence


 2.2.2. Social rooms outside the production 2 – the meal

The meal (appetite, samples, spam, menu, beans, wafers, Visual Cafe)


2.2.2. Social rooms outside the production 3 – relations between people

The family - biological (generations, sisters, brothers, babies, children, cousins, parents)

2.2.2. Social rooms outside the production 4 – social arrangements

The family - cultural (marriage (seek in marriage, engagement, adoption)

Friendship and related relations (companion, darling, neighbor)

According to employment (serve, guard, agent, client, assistant, master, slave, inceptor)

Other relations (fan, nobility)


2.2.3. Art & culture

Art of painting (exhibitions, brush stroke, Picasso’s blue period)

Music (sweet music, give the keynote)

Textile engineering (tailored system, designed, collect under one hat)

Theatre (the scene, actor, the play, masquerade, soap opera, win an Oscar)

Sports, athletics (levels of power - the participants - the players - the competitors - the placing - the winner, the finalist)

Activities, type of sports (soccer, football, baseball, cycle race, martial art, surfing)

Games (gambling, chess, playing cards, game of dice)


2.2.4. Social rooms without control


The persons (pirates, gangs, robbers)

The activities (the fights, firing, the taking of hostages)

The persons and activities handling the problems (cops, taking finger-prints)



The event (the war, the battle, the attack, the intervention)

The place (the front-line)

The participants (the warriors)

The tools (armament, pistols, guns)

The result (lose ground)


Disease and illness

The actors (virus, doctors)

The subject (health)

The indicators (infection)

The activities (take the computers temperature, use medicine)


The irrational

Religion (actors, subject, goal, activities – Christianity/other)

The fantastic, the fabulously and magic (actors, activities, accessories – wizards, pixies, ghost – prophesy, conjure, haunt - horn of plenty


2.2.5. Social rooms diachronic

Experiences from childhood

Knowledge on history

3. Orientation / movement

3.1. Physical rooms

Up/down (down, low, fall, rise, lower)

The surface (before, behind, area, background, breaking through, heavy, light, under, over, platform)

The landscape (at nightfall, the weather, the perspective)

The city (the office and the equipment – the house – the hotel – the library – the campus – the post office)

The journey (the vehicles, the places, the way to do it, the result – ships, cars – on roads, in the air – fast, slow, short cuts, overtaking, accelerating – get access, visit, leave etc.

3.2. Psychological rooms

Feelings and perceptions through the sense