Main problems of translating metaphors
Theory of conceptual metaphor was based on the material of everyday speech by doing so George Lakoff and Mark Johnson intended to prove the influence of the metaphor on human thought. According to their theory, metaphor is considered as the specific form of cognition, structure and consideration of reality
MAIN PROBLEMS OF TRANSLATING METAPHORS
Master student, Uzbekistan State World Languages University
Theory of conceptual metaphor was based on the material of everyday speech
by doing so George Lakoff and Mark Johnson intended to prove the influence of the
metaphor on human thought. According to their theory, metaphor is considered as
the specific form of cognition, structure and consideration of reality. “If we are right in
suggesting that our conceptual system is larger metaphorical, then the way we think,
what we experience and w
hat we do every day is very much matter of metaphor”
[G. Lakoff 1981: 3] Cognitive theory of metaphor is based on the assumption about
the relationship of the human consciousness with the deep structures corresponding
to different abstract notions. Cognitive mechanism of conceptualization of the
subjective experience (wishes, achievements, and understanding of the ideas) in the
terms of sense-motoric experience is considered a conceptual metaphor [G. Lakoff
1990: 55-60]. Metaphorisation
– is the method of new concept formation with the
help of signs, which is already included in the semiotic system. [Maslova 2008: 48]
Metaphorisation takes part in the process of new language means creation and
representation. This process is based on the interaction of two knowledge structures:
“cognitive structure of “source” and cognitive structure of “target” [Tendahl 2008: 26].
Phenomenon described by the metaphor represents conceptual area of “target”,
concepts used for describing the particular phenomenon, on their turn, are in the area
of “source”. In the process of metaphorization particular areas of target domain
structured patterned after the area of source domain, in other words, takes part the
process of “metaphorical projection” or “cognitive mapping” [Семухина 2016: 135]
Traces of cognitive mapping can be seen on the level of semantics of the text and
sentences in the form of metaphorical consequences including through tonality of the
It is worth mentioning that metaphor is not the only means of nomination, but
it is the tool for creating new reality. Metaphor is the tool of secondary nomination,
which examines afresh-gained knowledge through the prism of existing experience,
represented by linguistic units. It indicates that metaphor reflects reality by the means
of language, which transfers cognitive experience of the human. However, in the
literary text considering the diversification of this text type, metaphor obtains news
characteristics. Scope of metaphor is not restricted by speech and cognition alone;
in fictional text, it represents the attitude of the writer towards the world and reality in
general. Furthermore, metaphor gives rise to new ideas and generates new notions
that represent gained experiences of the author. Through metaphor, knowledge
gains linguistic form, which mirrors author’s imaginary world. Metaphor is the
mechanism with the help of which we conceive abstract notions and operate them as
discontinuous entities based on the physical experience and cultural diversity of the
specific society [Tendahl 2008:240-241].
Representation of reality in the literary text occurs with the help of linguistic
means. This type of representation of the reality is embodied in the selection of
content in fictional work, in the selection of linguistic means, (here might appear both
thematic groups of language means and individual means inherent only to the author)
and the usage of different figurative means as well as the system of the tropes.
Determination of the traces of the conceptual metaphor in fictional text opens
a window to the author’s individual conceptual structures. On the basis of conceptual
metaphor, representing fictional picture of the world, lie historical events, social,
economic, political and cultural phenomena, furthermore, facts from the biography of
the author might be influential as well. This method of text investigation helps to
identify main semantic points of the fictional work. Furthermore, this method can help
to depict a psychological portrait of the author. Language of the literary text is to some
extent similar to everyday speech, nonetheless it is not equal to it, as through fictional
text comes into existence separate fictional reality. This kind of world picture
combines in itself both well-known to everydiv the image of the world and the
specific author’s individual representation of reality. Author of the fictional text
represents his own perception of reality and offers the reader to try his sense of
reality. In the representation of the individual world picture is hidden one of the
diversity of the conceptual metaphor.
Conceptual metaphor in literary text characterized by the wide branch of
associative links. If conceptual metaphor is used in the title of the fictional text, it fulfils
the function of transference of conceptual content of the whole text; and has an
associational relationship with all elements of the text. Therefore, it is rational to
investigate the metaphorical title with the help of the frame analysis. As on the top of
the hierarchy of the frames is considered a title and as sub-frame slot represents text
Frame is defined as follows: Frame is a unique structure representing
experienced cognitive knowledge of the person, which connects cognitive and
linguistic areas in the process of speech production. According to Ch. Fillmore frame
is a schematization of experience, a knowledge structure which relates the elements
and entities associated with a particular scene from human experience [from
D.U. Ashurova 2018: 147]. Furthermore, frame is considered to be the semantic
foundation of the stereotypical (i.e. given specific set of components capable of
identifying precisely a particular scene) situation or notion, that is why it may lie on
the basis of any other cognitive structure expressed by the medium of the language.
Frame is regarded as structural form of concept representation in text, as
structural capacity of mental unit on the basis of one and the same foundation may
be filled by native speaker individually, therefore structural concept of different person
may differ however not greatly, which is particularly relevant in belles-lettres text, as
one and the same scene might be experienced by different authors differently.
Although the frame has prototypical character, while operating frames it is possible
to differentiate variations of the structure, specific attributes of it are not recognized
by the user. Frame is characterized by a hierarchical character; it has two levels:
upper level (the name of a frame) and the lower level consisting of terminals (slots
and sub-slots) which convey specific information about the situation. Firstly, the
category of a frame is within the sphere of knowledge: frames represent the structure
of the knowledge. Every scholar is interested in knowledge about the world, about
the specific piece of the reality, thus often in the definition of a frame they omit the
information about specifically which knowledge is taken into consideration, implicitly
it is understood as the knowledge about the world. However, some scholars tend to
concretize which particular sphere of knowledge is taken into account. For example,
in the perception of N.N.
Boldirev, frame is “model of culturally specified, canonized
knowledge” [Boldirev 2001: 62] For N.N. Boldirev the main requirement remains that
the knowledge to be general at least for the particular society.
The illustration of the conceptual metaphor will be shown in the contemporary
short story “The Egg” by Andy Weir. The plot of the short story is simple. Basically,
after the car accident a protagonist is awaken in the void and comes across to
another humanlike creature and they have a little conversation about life and
existence. Also, the creature reveals that the protagonist is going to be reincarnated
this time he will be a Chinese peasant girl in 540. So, the protagonist learns that there
is no such a concept as time in afterlife. Furthermore, the all people with whom he
ever interacted and all the people who ever lived were himself. So all the good things
or bad deeds he did to others were directed to himself, to different reincarnations of
himself. So he asks
and creature answers “
And you’re the millions he
“And I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too”.
protagonist learns that the whole universe is created just for him to mature and after
the process of maturation finishes the protagonist joins the other creatures as with
whom he is talking to. In his existential work
“The Egg” the author Andy Weir reveals
his vision of the world, additionally the title of short story bears conceptual information
relevant to the whole div of the work. After reading the short story it is possible to
notice the conceptual metaphor the universe is an egg. As it is written above, the
target domain here is the universe and the source domain is an egg. Speaking about
the main ideas of the short story, in my opinion there are two main ideas: firstly, all
we the good deeds and bad deeds that we perform throughout the life we do it to
ourselves; and the second idea is found in very title of the short story and is
accompanied through the whole story is the universe in which we live is for us to
mature, mankind is an egg which is not born yet in other word mankind is a fetus
unless we are not mature enough we cannot break the egg. We can reveal authors
vision of the world as an egg and its content is the human who are at the stage of
First step to understanding the interrelationship between egg and universe it
has to be found the interconnection between two notions. It is well-known that the
universe is an abstract notion we as humans are not capable of seeing or somehow
feeling its existence. Thus, the universe is considered as an abstract notion and an
egg is a specific notion through which the target domain is clarified.
Further analysis considers using definition (from merriam-webster.com). Egg
the hard-shelled reproductive div produced by a bird and especially by
the common domestic chicken
its contents used as food
reproductive div consisting of an ovum together with its nutritive and protective
envelopes and having the capacity to develop into a new individual capable of
Idioms with the word egg:
To be a bad egg
– to be a bad
To egg someone on
– to encourage someone to do something, usually bad
or wrong or dangerous.
To have egg on one’s face
– to be embarrassed by an error
To put all one’s eggs in one basket
– to risk everything at once.
one’s grandmother to suck eggs
– to try to tell someone who has more knowledge
that you how to do something.
To walk on eggshells
– to be very cautious and careful
around someone so that they don’t get angry [Web-site: blog.abaenglish.com].
he totality of known or supposed objects and phenomena throughout space;
the cosmos; macrocosm.
The whole world, especially with REFERENCES to
humanity: a truth known throughout the universe.
A world or sphere in which something exists or prevails: his private universe.
Also called universe of discourse. Logic. the aggregate of all the objects,
attributes, and relations assumed or implied in a given discussion. Also called
universal set. Mathematics. the set of all elements under discussion for a given
In the definition it is possible to observe an obvious correlation between egg
the roundish reproductive div produced by the female of certain animals, as
birds and most reptiles, consisting of an ovum and its envelope of albumen, jelly,
membranes, egg case, or shell, according to species.
a world or sphere in which something exists or prevails:
). In other
words, the interconnection between these two notions: an egg and the universe is
that they both are round and they both contain something. After the contact point is
found, the next step is to analyze what additional meaning is created by this
As above mentioned an egg is a
, in other words something
that gives rise to a living creature, however, in the definition of universe this part is
omitted. Accordingly, we can suppose that in the author's world picture universe is
something that has borders or shells and something that eventually gives rise to
some living thing or to be more specific to a human. Here is the fragment from the
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every
human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born”,
“So the whole
universe”, you said, “it’s just…”,
“An egg”. I answered”.
The concept of an egg being
universe can be seen in a range of mythologies as well, for instance, in Vedic
mythology, in Zoroastrian mythology, in Greek/Orphic mythology, in Egyptian
mythology and in other mythological sources.
Our observation reveals that related words and phraseological units have the
metaphorical meaning egg as a person, such phraseological units as:
to be a bad
a bad egg
and related words as:
hominid, homo, humanoid, fellow
the statement, that correlation we can detect in the short story, author used metaphor
which conveys conceptual information people are the egg, and they are not mature
enough to break the nutshell and pass into real existence. The concept of maturation
goes along the whole short story being one of the main ideas connecting the text.
The new life lies dormant in the egg, once a human is ready to step into new existence
he brakes the nutshell.
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve
lived every human life throughout all time, you will have gro
wn enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”, “An egg.” I answered”.
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