A CCL and COCA-Based Contrastive Study of LIFE Metaphor in Chinese and English

  •  Shifang Zhou    
  •  Xiangyong Jiang    


This paper analyzes universalities and variations of LIFE metaphor via qualitative and quantitative analysis of data retrieved from two authoritative, general, and monolingual corpora—Center for Chinese Linguistics (CCL) and Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) in Chinese and English. The study aims to explore the universalities and variations of LIFE metaphor in Chinese and English on the one hand, further the hidden reasons for the universalities and variations on the other. Results reveal that source domains like JOURNEY/VOYAGE, FOOD, WAR, DREAM, BOOK are employed to conceptualize LIFE both in Chinese and English justifying the universality of conceptual metaphor, which can be ascribed to Chinese and American people’s common bodily experience, common knowledge and experience about the world, common social and cultural experience. However, the frequency of conceptualizing FOOD, WAR, DREAM, BOOK is different, and the potential universal metaphors like FOOD show differences in their specific details. Besides, unique source domains are used for a particular culture (OPERA in Chinese). Different socio-cultural contexts, differential memory, Chinese and Americans’ different outlooks on life may account for LIFE metaphor’s cross-cultural variation.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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