Primary metaphors are both cultural and embodied

Bodo Winter, Teenie Matlock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Citations (Scopus)
274 Downloads (Pure)


Cognitive linguists have argued that metaphors are anchored in our embodied experiences. Cultural, linguistic and gestural representations are often seen as reflections of underlying conceptual mappings. On the basis of three different metaphors, more is up, similarity is proximity, and social distance is spatial distance (a.k.a. intimacy is closeness), we argue for a more active role of external representations in individual cognition. Rather than being mere “reflections” of the respective conceptual associations, external representations actively enhance and support these. Since two of the metaphors we discuss associate the same source domain (spatial distance) with different target domains (similarity and social closeness), we also discuss in how far primary metaphors are (by necessity) interrelated, and whether these metaphors can be treated as distinct conceptual entities at all.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMetaphor
Subtitle of host publicationEmbodied Cognition and Discourse
EditorsBeate Hampe
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9781108182324
ISBN (Print)9781107198333
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • metaphor
  • embodied cognition
  • culture
  • primary metaphors
  • space and time
  • social cognition
  • media


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