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Metaphorical concepts in the poetry of R.Burns

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Metaphorical concepts in the poetry of R.Burns Ertner Daria Tyumen State University, Russia


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Our research aims at analyzing the role of metaphor in poetry with the purpose of interpreting the metaphoric relationships of image creating and establishing conceptual links and bases for decoding the worldview of R.Burns. The methods and analytical procedures relevant for cognitive linguistics: cognitive metaphoric analysis (G.Lakoff (1993), G.Lakoff and M.Johnson (2003),) decoding stylistic analysis (M.Black (1962), D.Davidson (1991)).


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In these terms metaphor can be considered to be the cornerstone principal of cognition, that contributes development of specific national vision of the world. Metaphoric imagery thus is the primary language code, and metaphor itself functions as one of the primary tools of Language cognitive function. Our own worldviews are formed and processed through metaphors.


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George Lakoff and Mark Turner (1989) converge on the conclusion that poetic metaphor codes our modes of everyday understanding. Thus poetry through metaphor shapes our worldviews. It is far from being a mere ornamentation, it deals with central and indispensable aspects of our conceptual systems.


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G.Lakoff and M.Johnson in their research “Metaphors we live by” (2003) claim that the whole human conceptual system is metaphorically structured and defined. Therefore to define the images that help interpreting some ideas in the terms of others they introduce the notion metaphorical concept. Those ones can contribute to producing an unlimited number of metaphoric expressions.


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Metaphorical Concept has come to mean a cross-domain mapping in the conceptual system. The term metaphorical expression refers to a linguistic expression (a word, phrase, or sentence) that is the surface realization of such a cross-domain mapping.


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Proceeding from all stated above we reconstructed the scheme of metaphorical concepts in the poetry of R.Burns. As it is shown in Figure 1. at the bases of his metaphorical vision of the world lie four natural elements: Soil, Water, Air, and Fire, which became the source domain of his metaphoric conceptualization. Further we will call these structures “Metaphoric fields”.


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SOIL State: -being active Goal: -keeping life within Metaphorical networks: 1)Flora, 2)Fauna, 3)Location Basic concept: Life   FIRE AIR State: -light State: -emptiness Goal: -giving light Goal: -fate Metaphorical networks: 1)Sun\moon, 2)Precious stones, 1) Blast\Storm , 2) Wind 3)Light, 4) War Basic concept: Art Death WATER State: -being active Goal: -dynamics Metaphorical networks: 1)Wave, 2) Rain\Snow Basic concept: Life Figure 1. The structure of metaphoric concepts in poetry of R.Burns


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Thus we can conclude that in the poetry of R.Burns metaphoric integrity is achieved through metaphorical fields: Soil, Water, Air, Fire, which are realized through metaphoric networks: Flora, Fauna, Location, Sun\moon, Precious stone, Blast \Storm , Wind, Light, War, Wave, Rain\Snow, structured by the means of metaphoric concepts, formed by national and individual stereotypes of metaphoric world perception and metaphoric conceptualization of reality.


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The above mentioned metaphoric networks serve the bases of poetry and their representation in the poetry of R.Burns is always metaphoric in nature. Those metaphoric concepts are very individual for each poet and are nationally determined. If we decode metaphoric concepts in translations of R.Burns’ poetry into Russian Language we find a different set of metaphors, ways of conceptualization, though the basic metaphoric elements will remain.


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