The embodiment/culture continuum

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Cognitive Linguistics accepts as a fundamental principle that embodied experience and culture both influence the cognitive conceptualization of meaning in language; however, most studies focus on the influence of embodiment. Diachronic studies are useful to show the effect of cultural models on conceptualization. The current study collected samples of metaphors of the spleen (e.g., “He vented his spleen”) from 19th century English popular magazines to investigate the relative contributions of cognition and culture on metaphor instantiation. The results showed that culture was isomorphic with embodied experience in the data. Based on the results, an embodiment/culture continuum is proposed, within which different conceptualizations vary in their content on the two dimensions. Usagebased models of language provide an explanation for the study results.


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