7. Love, metaphor and responsibility

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Diachronic corpus linguistics can help us trace changes in the usage of metaphors within various stages of one and the same language. This article deals with conceptual metaphors occurring with the verb and noun love in Early Modern and Present-Day English. The aim is to describe the seeming paradox that while frequency counts based on corpus data yield similar metaphors for both periods, reading the data, one cannot help thinking that there are important cultural differences between these periods. A close reading of selected examples suggests that the conceptual metaphors love is a (fluid in a) container and love is a valuable commodity/economic exchange are so general that they can be used for many arguments and purposes which may even conflict with each other. The concept of responsibility is invoked in this article as a means of showing how this works.


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