More Than Mere Words: From Systematicity and Structure in Conceptual Metaphor Theory to Derogatory Terms As Action-Engendering Language
The Conceptual Metaphor Theory developed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, exposed in Metaphors We Live By, analyzes the systematicity and structure that metaphor provides to our understanding and structuring of experience. Lakoff and Johnson propose a theory within which metaphors can potentially structure not only the concepts by which we understand experience, but which also provides support for the action-engendering nature of language in metaphors. Similarly, Lynn Tirrell extends on some of the main features of Conceptual Metaphor Theory as developed by Lakoff and Johnson within the scope of her own work, but then provides us with a nuanced analysis of Derogatory Terms. My work pulls from the views and propositions found in Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Tirrell's analysis of Derogatory Terms as a means of undertaking my own investigation into some examples of contemporary political rhetoric. I question whether some metaphors have the potential of miscommunicating the true nature of experience and further consider the consequences this phenomenon has had. My goal is to illuminate areas within experience, specifically structured by language, that may prove ripe for oppressive practices.