Chapter 10. The limits of comprehension
in cross-cultural metaphor
This chapter examines the conceptual patterns involved in the interpretation of metaphors primarily in English, French, German, and Italian from the field of drugs terminology. It suggests that the process defined here as conceptual networking constitutes a substantial aid in cross-cultural comprehension. Many features of networks are shared among languages, such as similar analogies, cultural overlap in linguistic metaphors, and universal components in both specific and more generalized metaphors. However, there are cases in which shared conceptual metaphors display considerable cross-language variation with regard to the types of linguistic metaphors linked to their networks. These cases demonstrate the limits of cross-cultural comprehension and reveal that non-contextual features are required to establish a reasonable interpretation of the metaphor in question.