Conceptual Metaphors

The English language is filled with conceptual metaphors. From time to love to language itself, anything and everything can be put in a different context. Here are some that English speakers may not realize they use every day:

Political Personification- Uncle Sam, the embodiment of American nationalism, is a perfect example of how we personify countries today. “U.S. meets with China”, “Russia signs treaty with Ukraine” “Iran hands over captives”; We talk about these governments as if they were human beings, and because of this they grow their own identities, such as Uncle Sam.

Thoughts are Babies- I’m sure you have heard the expression “food for thought”, but have you ever realized that we talk about our thoughts like we do babies? We develop thoughts, we grow ideas, we treat them like little infants that we have to nurture.

The journey that is life- As originally sung by Tom Cochrane, “Life is a Highway” and this metaphor is apparent in more than just the song. Today we treat life as a journey that everyone must impart on. This is most obvious in the ways we talk about death, using expressions such as “Ive reached the end of the road”.


About Reed Widdoes

Reed Widdoes is a first year student at Bucknell University. He is from Pittsburgh P.A. and spent his high school years at a small boarding school in south central P.A. called Mercerburg Academy. His intended majors are International Relations and Linguistics. He speaks English, as well as minimal Spanish and Italian, and even less French and German.
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