The use of metaphors – Term Paper

The use of metaphors

The use of metaphors plays an incredible role in creating a mental picture as applied in literal statements. As a result, it makes it easier for people to understand a given concept. A comparison drawn between a given phenomenon such as a natural attribute to a particular situation. A good example is portrayed in this statement, as dark as the night. By just stating this, one gets a clue or rather have an idea of how dark the night is thus can as well draw a comparison. The use of metaphors has thus been applied in various cultures and used as an analytical tool (Athanasiadou 12). A good example portrayed in a Chinese metaphor about the human body seen as a container. A similarity is seen between English and Chinese but at times also contradict by the way they use certain metaphors. According to the westerners, a different belief does exist, for instance, a sharp contrast drawn between the role played by their cultures. While the may all express their emotions they at times differ in the way they do it.

Culture defines the rules and structure that a group of people follows to interpret and understand behaviors because ethnographic studies believe that cultural differences have social consequences when evaluating emotions. One of the best examples of this is when an individual from the Eskimo community of Utku depicts any form of sadness; ostracized because it is considered to be a taboo to show any signs of anger. There is no universal way of regulating responses, but different cultures have unwritten codes used to regulate expressions and the most common way is through the socialization process which either entails dialectical thinking or through emphasizing on positive thinking over negative thinking in the society. In Western culture, the most notable way of regulating it is through teaching positive thinking through discouraging negative thinking while in Eastern culture, they emphasize on dialectical thinking. All these aspects referred to as a social script that different culture uses to define the desirable forms of expression. One can learn and adapt to the shape of cultural expression that is beneficial to the culture they represent when taught at a tender age.

Hire a custom writer who has experience.
It's time for you to order amazing papers!

order now

In the previous century the notion of schema was highly explanatory across different disciplines such as cognitive science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, and anthropology. Cultural schemas play the role of interpreting meanings of diverse cultures and the structures of their mode of communication in the society. A good example of how schemes work is in the way that people do things in a restaurant setup where one has to order, get served, pay the bill or even tip the waiter and so on (Sharifian, 2008).

In many cultures, cultural schemas are similar to each other but the manner in which things done differs in many ways, and the same case applies to cultural conceptualization of language across cultures. Language also differs from one group to another especially when it comes to its definition and relationship with emotions and conceptualization of language and culture. The other aspect of cultural conceptualization that is crucial in understanding the relationship between cultural linguistics and culture is the concept of a cultural category which is an essential human cognitive activity across different cultures.


The use of metaphor has been carried on since long ago; as a result, people compared actual human experience in their bodies with abstract objects and meant to enhance understanding now that it was possible to relate to such objects. The study has also attracted a lot of research with many now seeking to gain more understand as to why men decided to make use of such a stylistic feature. Despite there being different cultures in play a lot of similarities are also drawn. While focusing on happiness apart from just associating it with an expression, happiness is up. Several expressions are also created, such as; one saying he is feeling up, being high in spirit, trying to keep ones spirit high, come on just to name a few. These are used in English but imply the same thing. On the other hand, the Chinese also have similar expressions thus imply they are applied conventionally.

From the analysis, the relation between emotion and culture can be well defined while looking at the definition of a cultural syndrome. It is a shared set of norms, beliefs, values and attitudes arranged around a theme shared by speakers of one language, at a given period in a particular geographical region. There are different ways in which people are expected to feel and express their feelings across diverse cultures and in different experiences such as weddings and funerals among other events in life. Different cultures value different emotions because there are those cultures that highly uphold the emotional expression of happiness than others as much as it is a desirable emotional expression across cultures. Some cultures have more individualistic views than others, and this means that they view emotions such as happiness as an individual based while other cultures see it as an experience that comes after sharing a special experience with someone or with a group of people. Americans view happiness as an individual feeling of expression that can also enhanced through sharing a special relationship with someone else in the society.

Comparative analysis on sadness

A comparative study on metaphors touching on grief on different touching on different cultures is conducted. In this case, a comparison is drawn from the Chinese approach and English. Various researchers have also done. While gauging the human experience; one comes to realize how such cultures have a great influence on how they deal with sadness. In most cases, many approached it differently (Yi 11). As highlighted with by scholars, many differences were also identified, despite some exhibiting the same literal meaning they did imply the same thing.

Metaphors were treated as a linguist tool used to pass a given message with a hidden meaning. The emotion was on the other hand used to portray how one felt while sad. It also manifested how one felt, thus likely to take tell once mode from the way they acted. Despite a lot of research being done about sadness, many focused on anger. As a result, many rarely took a time to study depression which also shows why the study on sadness was not sufficient. A lot of attention was, however, focused on happiness. While gauging the two languages one can realize that little was done thus leading to insufficient research (Li 206).


While going about the research, different approaches were used to try and describe sadness. Materials were also sort from both Persian as well as English. In the attempt to come up with a great finding, different sources were also used. A good example portrayed when idioms, as well as Persian expression, are considered. It was found out that sadness commonly used in English as compared to Chinese. While sad, many showcased different attributes. One could also easily tell by the way they acted. At times, some would respond sluggishly some even associated sadness with low. From the metaphor, sadness is low, a common sign seen is dropped shoulders while sad. It also explains why many are likely to say they are feeling low when sad (Mashak 200).

Sadness is associated with darkness, as seen from this metaphor, sadness is dark. It is associated with darkness owing to those experiencing such an emotion seeking to go in less bright places. On the other hand, those going through a jovial mode, however, love bright places and thus exhibit happiness. While comparing the two cultures, they also embrace the same belief. In English, much associate sadness with colors too as seen from the expression of one feeling blue. In Persian, many however associate the black color with sadness (Sun 175).


Many are aware of the role played by happiness in various societies while dealing with human emotion. A study conducted on how it applies from two different cultural perspectives. As a result, many can gain understanding on their application. The attempt is used to identify the existing similarities as well as perceived differences between them. In English, happiness is always associated with being up. In other words, one is likely to exhibit an erected posture; it is also the same in Chinese.

Happiness is associated with a container filled with fluid. While comparing the two cultures they all view the human body as a container. In different occasions, happiness is seen as a reaction when one is happy thus likely to be showcased by individual physically. Many differences also are drawn concerning happiness. As a result of differing cultural perspectives, one is likely to see this reflected in how the two cultures react to pleasure (Yan & Dirk 40). A universal sign of happiness is seen by how the eyes, as well as eyebrows, react when one is happy. In Chinese, many do portray raised eyebrows when happy but can as well represent relaxed eyes. In other words, an individual’s mode is likely to be seen from how he reacts.

;;;;;;;;;;;Apart from just likening happiness to a fluid container, several metaphors were also developed and included expressions like; an individual saying that his heart is full of joy, or rather busting with joy, being overwhelmed with joy just to name a few. The same applies to Chinese metaphors now that the human frame also is seen as a container. In as much as the two shared these similarities, there also existed many differences. Just to illustrate this example, happiness is seen as if it’s elevated from the ground. On the other hand, it was also viewed as a flower in ones heart. A good example is depicted in an expression, being in the clouds, soaring, floating, as well as feet of the ground as applied in the use of metaphors. While comparing these with the Chinese view some associated such an expression, off the ground, with a proud individual. It is one of the greatest examples of given so far.


Often, the role of facial expression in the communication is debatable, and this is because cultural lessons affect the manner in which people react to different events in life. Facial expressions do not necessary have to reflect what an individual is thinking simply because a lot has changed in the modern society; different expressions may mean something else. By studying cultural metaphors one is likely to understand how different, different cultures approach this issue thus able to arrive at a proper conclusion.

Work Cited

Sharifian, Farzad (ed.). The Routledge handbook of language and culture. New York:            Routledge. 2015.

Sharifian, Farzad. Cultural Linguistics. In Farzad Sharifian (ed.), The Routledge        handbook of   language and culture,  473492. New York: Routledge. 2015.

Sharifian, Farzad, Rene Dirven, Ning Yu & Susanne Neiemier (eds.). Culture, body, and        language: Conceptualizations of internal body organs across cultures and languages.           Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter. 2008.

Sharifian, Farzad & Gary B. Palmer (eds.). Applied Cultural Linguistics: Implications for         second language learning and intercultural communication. Amsterdam. 2007.

John Benjamins, Sharifian, Farzad, Judith Rochecouste&Ian G. Malcolm. 2004. Itwas all a bit          confusing: Comprehending Aboriginal English texts. Language, Culture, and Curriculum    17(3). 203228.

Sharifian, Farzad, Adriano Truscott, Patricia Konigsberg, Glenys C. Collard & Ian G. Malcolm.                      Understanding stories my way: Aboriginal-English speaking students      (mis)understanding of school literacy materials in Australian English. East Perth, WA:           Department of Education. 2012.

Siahaan, Poppy. Did he break your heart or your liver? A contrastive. 2008.

Yi, Sun. ‚ÄúA Research into the Motivation of Experiential Philosophy and Cultural Idiosyncrasies ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†in the Domain of English-Chinese Emotion Metaphors [J].‚ÄĚ Foreign Language Education 1. 2010.

Li, Xiuzhi. ‚ÄúConceptual metaphor theory and teaching of English and Chinese idioms.‚ÄĚ Journal ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†of Language Teaching and Research 1.3. 2010.

Mashak, Shahrzad Pirzad, Abdolreza Pazhakh, and Abdolmajid Hayati. ‚ÄúA comparative study on ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†basic emotion conceptual metaphors in English and Persian literary texts.‚ÄĚ International ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Education Studies 5.1. 2012.

Sun, Hong-mei. ‚ÄúThe Cognitive Study of Metaphor and its Application in English Language Teaching/L‚Äôetude Cognitive De La Metaphore Et Son Application Dans L‚Äôenseignement ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†De L‚Äôanglais.‚ÄĚ Canadian Social Science 6.4. 2010.

Yan, Ding, Dirk Noel, and Hans-Georg Wolf. Patterns in metaphor translation: a corpus-based         case study of the translation of FEAR metaphors between English and Chinese. 2010.