Metaphor and Cultural Cognition

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Cultural cognition is a multidisciplinary concept that links anthropology, linguistics, psychology and sociology. This study focuses on the culture-specific interpretation of collective, specifically national, identities, constructed through conceptual metaphor. Its data consist of a questionnaire survey, administered in 10 countries to students from 31 linguistic backgrounds who were given the task of applying the metaphor of the nation as a body to their home nation. The results show systematic variation of four main interpretations, i.e. nation as geobody, as functional whole, as part of self and as part of global structure, plus of a non-primed interpretation nation as person. The two dominant interpretation patterns, i.e. nation as geobody and nation as functional whole, were represented across all cohorts but showed opposite frequency patterns for Chinese versus Western cohorts; in addition, the Chinese nation as person interpretations showed a marked preference for mother-personifications. These findings can be linked to culture-specific conceptualisations and discourse traditions and contribute to a constructivist, non-essentialising definition of cultural cognition as a central issue of Cultural Linguistics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Cultural Linguistics
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-4056-6
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-4055-9
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2017

Publication series

NameCultural Linguistics
ISSN (Print)2520-145X
ISSN (Electronic)2520-1468


  • Cultural cognition
  • Cultural linguistics
  • Metaphor
  • Metonymy
  • Nation

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