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Research on Motion-emotion Metaphor and its Social Cognitive Mechanism-A Case Study of Chinese Mandarin, Yi Language and English

Hongbo Li


Chinese motion-emotion metaphor and its social cognitive mechanism are explored, for the first time, with a comparison between Mandarin Chinese, the Yi language and English. The interaction between motions and emotions is the key to do the research from the perspective of cognitive functionalism. Cognitive functionalism argues that language reflects people’s consciousness, and the cognitive aspect of language interacts with the communicative function of language very well. According to this argument, motion-emotion metaphor, as a popular language phenomenon, can testify to such interactions. The comparative analysis of motion-emotion metaphors, from the perspective of cognitive functionalism, in this paper has proved to take the following aspects into consideration: the subjects’ experiences of physical motions and their effects on objects; the universality and the specificity of such experience; the emotions’ observable traits and their related motions; the common knowledge and normal beliefs among the motions’ subjects and their surrounding contexts.

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