Original Research

Die ouderdommetafoor vanuit ’n kognitlewe vertrekpunt

M. A. Pauw
Literator | Vol 20, No 1 | a449 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v20i1.449 | © 1999 M. A. Pauw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 1999 | Published: 26 April 1999

About the author(s)

M. A. Pauw, Departement Afrikaans, Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit, Johannesburg, South Africa

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A cognitive approach to metaphors concerning old age
Old age is a universal experience. Poets in general and certain Afrikaans poets in particular use imagination and metaphor to understand and interpret the experience of old age and approaching death. To understand one domain of experience in terms of another we need metaphor which unites reason and imagination. The purpose of this article is to apply the cognitive approach to disclose the main conceptual domains which act as source domains and are projected onto the target domain of old age. The resulting metaphors describe the experience of old age and its physical and psychological infirmities and decay. The poet as abstract author, but also the reader, creatively and imaginatively recognize a schema in a new situation and contrive metaphorical connections between various conceptual structures. Thus a metaphorical expression links two or more domains of experience. Structures from two or more input source domains are projected onto a separate “blended” space, which inherits structure partially from the inputs, and has emergent structure of its own. It is argued that creativity shows rationality and structure. The examples reveal that the path, cycle and time domains are the more important source domains for the old age metaphors. The metaphors do not only describe the authors' emotions on experiencing old age, but also create emotions in the reader. The conclusion arrived at is that language is inextricably entrenched in our cognitive make-up, as illustrated by the various metaphors conveying the experience of old age.


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