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Joining Metaphors From Public And Academic Discourse On Language Contact

By Author: Arsenalo
Total Articles: 116

After the conceptual metaphoric analysis of text samples exemplifying public discourse on English influence on German, and after providing a condensed overview of major conceptualizations of language and language contact from a linguistic point of view, this final section will summarize the metaphors of both discourse domains. Setting the various conceptual metaphors in relation to each other allows discerning their commonalities and disentangling their characteristic differences. In addition, the joined illustration of conceptual metaphors can help to understand the underlying conceptualizations that render public and academic discourse on English influence incompatible at times. The joined portrayal of conceptual metaphors Merrell Boots follows a gradual cline of conceptualization from more basic, primary metaphors (on top) to more explicit, specific conceptualizations (at the bottom). This is in line with Grady's (1997) postulate of primary metaphors that form basic constituents of more complex conceptual metaphors.

On a primary level, as the top of Figure 1 shows, both discourse domains ground their understanding of language on its conceptualization as an entity. This conception of language emerges from a general cognitive process of understanding the non-physical/ abstract as physical/concrete. Essential for structuring our understanding along these lines is the basic image schema of CONTAINMENT (cf. Johnson, 1987), which allows us to discern (spatial) relationships and dependencies among physical and, by extension, abstract elements and which generally structures our perception of the world and our being as grounded in nested structures of containment. Language is both physical (as perceived sounds, as visible gestures, and as visible or tactile scripts) and abstract (as cognitive competence) as already expressed in Saussure's dual characterization of language as parole and langue. Thus, when it comes to conceptualizing the abstract nature of language, mapping properties of its physical aspects (e.g. boundedness and containment) is cognitively speaking close at hand.

Taking the conception of language as an entity as fundamental, public and academic discourse tend to diverge immediately Merrell Sandal in their conception of language as a closed, static entity vs. as an open, fluctuating system. Building on the central notion of containment, language is generally metaphorized as a bounded entity. In linguistic modelling, language is contained internally in the mind of a speaker and language contact is thus conceived of as interacting systems of language in a speaker's mind. This conceptualization is usually not exploited in public discourse on English influence on German. An understanding of language as a bounded entity external to an individual speaker, however, gives rise to various more specific conceptualizations evident in public opinions on the issue. Thus, apart from the sociolinguistic view of language as bounded in a community of speakers, which evokes the metaphoric conception of language contact as transmission of language elements between speaker communities, public discourse tends to depict language in more concrete terms of speaker-external entities. The data from Die Welt contains conceptualizations of language as a material, organic, and political entity. These images give rise to related metaphoriza-tions of language contact as physical action on material, as physical action on an organism, as growth and change of an organism, and as language contact as migration. The latter conceptualization is closely related to the mainly academic view of contact as transmission of language elements from source to receptor language.

Following the cognitive embedding of conceptual metaphors on language from a more general to a more specific level so far, it appears that public and academic discourse derive their understanding from a common primary metaphoric level of language as a bounded entity. While speaker-internal boundedness seems to be a sole characteristic of academic discourse, public discourse tends to construct an understanding of language on a more concrete material, organic, and social base. In turn, these conceptualizations evoke certain types of metaphors of language contact which can potentially be used to express purist and non-purist attitudes towards English influence on German.

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