Original Research

Konteks: ’n metafoorskeppende veranderlike

W.J. Botha
Literator | Vol 23, No 2 | a327 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v23i2.327 | © 2002 W.J. Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 2002 | Published: 06 August 2002

About the author(s)

W.J. Botha, Departement Afrikaans, Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Context: A mechanism for the creation of metaphor

When the new South African Constitution was adopted on 8 May 1996, the former Deputy President Thabo Mbeki – president since June 1999 – made a statement on behalf of the ANC. In his address he used the expression “I am an African” in an extraordinary way: to promote the idea of a “rainbow nation”. From a cognitive linguistic view this article analyses the development of the metaphor status of this specific expression against the background of relevant contextual variables. It is argued that the speech context functions in various ways: it filters information from different conceptual experience domains; it explicates the generic space to some degree, contrary to its customary role in the creation of a metaphor, in which case the generic space functions at a low level of description; and as such it links the source and target domains of the relevant metaphoric expression. Although the expression “I am an African” reveals a characteristic metaphorical structure, cross-domain mapping in this instance takes an opposite route due to the fact that this expression acquires its metaphorical features at deep-rooted levels of conceptual blending, instigated by the specific speech context.


Context; Ego-Identity; Group Identity; Vantage Point


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