When My Eyes Are on You, Do You Touch My Eyes? A Reclassification of Metaphors Mapping from Physical Contact to Perception
Compendium of Cognitive Linguistics Research, Volume 2, Thomas Fuyin Li, ed., 189-200, 2013
11 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2014
Date Written: 2013
Many emotional and cognitive stimuli are perceived through the senses, especially through vision. As a result, metaphors mapping to Thinking or Emotion often incidentally involve Perception. This does not mean that Perception is the target domain of the metaphors. In this paper, we present examples from English and Chinese to argue that the role of Perception in Thinking and Emotion has led to the miscategorization of numerous metaphors as synaesthetic, when in fact they map to Thinking or Emotion. Furthermore, we suggest that differences between the domains of Thinking and Emotion lead to the supposed division between “Perception is Reception” and “Perceiving is Touching,” and we argue against the grouping of these under the heading of Perception is Contact between a Perceiver and a Perceived (Lakoff 1993). This reclassification has the additional advantage of a stricter and more explanatory delineation of the range of metaphors considered synaesthetic.
Keywords: emotion, sensory modality, synaesthesia, synaesthetic metaphor
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