Ontological and orientational metaphors in Latin
Ontological and orientational metaphors arise from general cognitive processes and rely on our embodied experience of the physico-spatial world, providing us with image schemas that we commonly exploit in order to interpret and express abstract notions in terms of spatial configurations. This is particularly true in the case of emotions and feelings, which are much less clearly defined than our bodily functions. Indeed, recurrent embodied patterns building bridges between spatial orientations and feelings occur in a great variety of languages. It has long been noted, for instance, that the vertical axis <i>up </i>vs. <i>down </i>offers the basis for portraying many experiential metaphors in terms of ‘happy/positive is up’, ‘sad/negative is down’. This paper shows that both ontological and orientational metaphorization is largely attested in this domain of experience in Latin, and provides corpus-based evidence for frequency and productivity effects and cross-linguistic comparisons that testify how the human body is a universal cognitive key to interpret and categorize emotions in modern as well as in ancient languages.