Conceptual Metaphor “HUMAN BEINGS ARE ANIMALS”: A Case Study of Nicknames in Chinese Literature of “Water Margin”

  • Yao Siqi Department of English and Linguistics, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University
Keywords: conceptual metaphor “HUMAN BEINGS ARE ANIMALS”, nicknames, Chinese culture, Chinese literature

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to study the conceptual metaphor “HUMAN BEINGS ARE ANIMALS” in “Water Margin”, one of the four great works of Chinese classical literature attributed to Shi Nai’an, parts of which originated in the 14th century. How the animal-related metaphorical expressions reflect the underlying conceptual system of Chinese speakers and cultural models was also examined. The data were collected from the original version of “Water Margin” and analyzed with Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), as put forward by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (1980). The “GREAT CHAIN OF BEING” system of George Lakoff and Mark Turner (1989) and cognitive metaphorical model of “HUMAN BEINGS ARE ANIMALS” by Zoltán Kövecses (2002) were also utilized. There were a total of 48 relevant nicknames of characters in the novel to be analysed. The results were that two main metaphorical categories were used in these nicknames, which were: (1) HUMAN BEINGS ARE NATURAL ANIMALS and (2) HUMAN BEINGS ARE MYTHICAL ANIMALS. Metaphorical expressions found in this research not only reflected aesthetic values and authorial skills, but also the Chinese conceptual system that “HUMAN BEINGS ARE ANIMALS”, based in part on cultural experiences, including traditional beliefs, and the cultural and social environment of ancient Chinese life.    These findings may help readers deepen their understanding of classic Chinese literature.

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Published
2018-01-30
How to Cite
Siqi, Y. (2018). Conceptual Metaphor “HUMAN BEINGS ARE ANIMALS”: A Case Study of Nicknames in Chinese Literature of “Water Margin”. Journal of Letters, 46(2), 1-43. Retrieved from https://so03.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/jletters/article/view/110547