Cultural and Cognitive Dimensions of Metaphor Aptness

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English, Management and Humanities College, Chabahar Maritime University, Chabahar, Iran


This paper discusses cultural and cognitive factors that may affect the degree of the aptness of metaphors. A given metaphor may have different degrees of aptness across different cultures. Geographical features of the area and the role of the base concept in the lives of people are cultural aspects that may affect the degree of the aptness of a metaphor for people of a culture. A metaphor with ‘lighthouse’ as the base domain would have a higher degree of aptness for people living near the sea compared to people living far away from the sea. Folktale and religion are also important aspects of culture that may have some degree of influence on the aptness of metaphors. In summary, the cultural dimensions of the concepts that are involved in the base and target domains of a metaphor could affect the degree of the aptness of that metaphor for people of that culture. Finally, the roles of metonymic relations and semantic features in the degree of aptness are discussed.


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