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Metaphors and space
Techniques > Use of language > Metaphor > Metaphors and space Form | Relative position | Containment | Movement | See also

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One thing that is peculiar to humans is our ability to deal and work with concepts and ideas outside of our everyday existence. This, however, gives us a problem in how how share understanding of things that we cannot touch or see. A solution to this problem is a very deep embedding of space into the language, whereby our everyday words around many concepts casts them into three dimensional space. In doing so, this allows us then to share ideas as their form and position are subconsciously shaped. Putting an object into space makes it a thing. A thing exists in threedimensional space. It has a form, size, shape, texture. These attributes can be used as descriptors and vehicles that convey attributes of the subject being described. Things can also move in space, relative to other things. The can have position, locus, speed, acceleration. Look inside

There are many attributes of basic form that may be used to form a metaphor. Here are but a few. Surface The surface of an object gives a tactile sense to an object, playing to the sense of touch. It can have hardness or softness. It can be shiny or dull, rough or smooth, reflective or matt. He's a hard nut. She's a real softie. That's a pretty hairy idea. Let's smooth out that plan. Changeability An object and hence a metaphor may be flexible, ductile, malleable or brittle. Something that can change shape is often considered to be adaptable. That which does not bend may considered strong. I'm ready to flex arrangements. He was her oak tree, her fixed mark.

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Light connotes ease. She's weighed down by the problems at work. then I am better than you. Things which are heavy indicate difficulty. Things also exist in space relative to other things. with large usually meaning better and smaller somehow being less desirable. It won't make it like this -. it has mass. whilst when we are side-by-side. like something that hard to move. Interestingly. we are equals. Thus a fly is small but an elephant is big. what else do you want? Height Height is often used as a metaphor for goodness. useful and worthless. It can be found good and bad. Tripping the light fantastic. then I am not as good as you. Heaviness also indicates power. we often make a relative to some other reference object. goodness. above or below. He thinks he's above the law. . it's a little bag on wheels! In assessing size.I can make it at a stretch. Mammoth sale! Mouse prices! Weight When a thing exists in three-dimensional space. If I am above you. Size Size is an attribute that has particular significance in describing goodness. Relative position An object can be compared with other things and found similar or different in one or more ways. man! And so I decided to weigh into the argument.we need to morph. Heavy. a thing which is light also borrows from the fact that 'light' also means the opposite of dark. Besides that. They are making a bigger offer than you. We also use ourselves as a size reference. Above all. If I am beneath you. That's not car. An ounce of help is worth a pound of pity. That is beneath contempt. I want to be a rocket scientist. They can be near or far. He's big-hearted. Light-fingered Joe. He's just a lightweight.

You are on the brink of disaster. It's out of order. She's an outcast. He's out of touch. The day. That's not in fashion any more. of the defining line between in and out. I'm in the army. We're close friends. then a thing outside the container is. That's a long way from what I want.Distance Distance is used to indicate similarity and association. whilst the distant one is small and unclear. He's one of the 'in' crowd.that is. Distance can also be associated with time. Containment Many conceptual metaphors are worded as containers -. Engineers are not leaders. they are used to hold something in or keep something out. Out If something can be in a container. I got there in time. In Containers can be organizations. concepts and others elements. edged in darkness. It's nearly time to go. 'In' and 'out' are often used to denote good and bad. Where the container is a defining category. Boundary Containers also include the concept of edge. by definition not in that category. where long way means a long time. I'm getting down to work now. In fact that's not true. then outside the container also has particular significance. with 'in' usually indicating the desirable state. Long ago and far away. The one that is closer is clear and every detail can be seen. You can also stand on one thing and look at another. Things which are close are somehow more alike. Transition . whilst things far away are different from one another.

She has passed away. They have joined the company. It can thus have a vector that has can change in terms of direction as well as speed. and thus has speed or velocity. for example transition to adulthood. the metaphor of transition between in and out becomes significant. Corners are associated with change. this can be acceleration or retardation.With the vector of time and movement. He has left-wing tendencies. Driving me around the bend Faced with the choice. Transition can be a very significant human activity. Stop it! Locus Movement has locus. She's a fast woman. Direction The basic element that movement adds is direction. We're just going around in circles here. He's slowing down. I'm holding up my end of the bargain. Other spatial metaphors There are many other metaphors that use space and form to explain a concept. He is on the journey to adulthood. a path that is traced out through space. That's a step in the right direction. she did a U-turn. Climbing the career ladder. The movement thus provides a concept for the process of gaining superiority. Movement A thing that exists in space can also move in space. She's taking charge. This implies pointing at and reaching some goal or destination. Speed and acceleration Movement includes change of location with time. When the speed changes. The movement also traces out a potentially useful locus. Superiority A vector can also be used to give you height that provides a position of superiority. Here are a few more. One up for me. We're on the road to agreement. .

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