5. The Chinese conceptualization of the heart and its cultural context

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From the perspective of cultural linguistics, this study investigates (a) the Chinese conceptualization of the heart, based on a linguistic analysis, and (b) the cultural context for this conceptualization, based on a survey of ancient Chinese philosophy and traditional Chinese medicine. As found, the heart-mind dichotomy traditionally held by Western cultures does not exist in traditional Chinese culture, which regards the heart as the thinking and behavior guiding organ, as well as the organ that stores feelings and emotions. It then discusses the importance of studying cultural conceptualization, including conceptual metaphor, behind linguistic expression in the context of second language learning and teaching. Such study should facilitate the acquisition of conceptual fluency and metaphorical competence of the L2 learner.


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