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El lenguaje metaforico en las fichas de cata de vino en ingles y en espanol.

Sumario: Introduccion. 2. Estado de la cuestion. 3 Metodologia. 3.1 Criterios de analisis. 3.2 Descripcion del corpus. 3.3 Aspectos metodologicos.

3.3.1 Identificacion de las metaforas. 3.3.2 Aspectos pragmaticos. 3.3.3 Contextos. 3.3.4 Mapas conceptuales de las metaforas en el lenguaje del vino 3.3.5 Tipos de metaforas. 4 Resultados. 5. Analisis contrastivo de las metaforas del lenguaje del vino en Ingles y en Espanol. 6 Conclusion.

Summary: 1. Introduction; 2. Literature review; 3. Methodology, 3.1. Selection of terms for analysis, 3.2. Description of the corpus, 3.3. Methodological issues, 3.3.1. Metaphor identification, 3.3.2. Role of context, 3.3.3. Contexts, 3.3.4. Source domains, 3.3.5. Metaphor types; 4. Results; 5 Comparison of metaphors in English and Spanish wine language; 6. Conclusion.

Metaphors in Wine-tasting Notes in English and Spanish


Conceptual metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics (CMT) is understood as a mapping between two conceptual domains, where properties from one domain (the source) are transferred onto another domain (the target) (Caballero and Ibarretxe, 2013: 268). Metaphor is seen as "understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another" (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980: 5). Metaphor is considered a cognitive mechanism and is differentiated from metaphorical language, that is, the instantiation of conceptual metaphor.

The conceptual associations between source and target have usually been considered universal in that they are based on experience shared by all human beings (Caballero and Ibarretxe, 2013: 269). They are also deemed to be unidirectional since the usually abstract target domain is understood by means of information mapped from the usually physical or more concrete source domain, but not vice versa (Caballero and Suarez Toste, 2008: 250). CMT also focusses on what are known "as usagebased approaches to language, given the emphasis placed upon exploring and discussing real instances of verbal interaction" (Caballero and Ibarretxe, 2013: 268).

However, the notions of universality, unidirectionality and usage as they stand in mainstream CMT are controversial. This is especially true of the concept of universality, which clashes to some extent with that of culture (Caballero and Ibarretxe, 2013: 269). The critical role of culture in characterizing conceptual metaphors is still underexplored in the theory. Two cultures may convey the same 'reality' by drawing upon different metaphorical sources (e.g., understanding is seeing vs. understanding is hearing). A look at various discourses and communities suggests that metaphors depend, to a large extent, on their interaction with the world, i.e., culture (e.g., the use of different perception sources to articulate cognition targets) (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980: 5).

In this paper culture is seen as "encompassing two related notions: on the one hand, it refers to the shared beliefs, knowledge and world view(s) characterizing 'broad' communities (national, ethnic, or speech communities); on the other, culture also refers to the particular communities--or sub-cultures--that share specific knowledge schemas, needs, interests and language, and are subsumed within the aforementioned broad cultural frame--or Culture with capital C (Caballero and Ibarretxe, 2013: 270).

The purpose of this paper is to see how metaphor is used in two different languages by two different cultures (speech communities), using wine tasting notes as our source of data and therefore dealing with the same sub-culture, that of wine experts. More specifically, we want to investigate the following aspects:

1. Is a metaphoric expression in one language usually rendered by a metaphoric expression in another language?

2. If so, does the conceptual domain remain the same in both languages?

3. Are metaphoric expressions used more frequently in one language than another?

4. Are the metaphors used more conventional than creative in one language than another?

According to Caballero, "the tasting note is one of the most representative and popular genres in wine discourse, as well as a key instrument in the process of acculturation" and "metaphors underlying the wine discourse cut across languages and cultures as well as across national and regional differences" (Caballero 2007: 2100). We wish to see to what extent this is true.


Although Caballero (2007: 2100) observed that figurative language, especially metaphorical language and its subgroups, has been neglected in most studies on wine writing, many articles have focused on metaphor in wine language, both before and after Caballero made that statement (Coutier, 1994; Amoraritei, 2002; Gluck, 2003; Lehrer, 2007, 2009; Suarez-Toste, 2007; Negro 2011; among others). Most of these studies deal with wine writing in a single language: primarily English, but also French and Spanish. We have been able to identify only a few relatively recent studies which are clearly a comparative analysis of metaphors in wine writing in two languages, Rossi's Pour une description du processus de creation des metaphores dans le langage du vin--etude comparative francais-italien (2012) and Bratoz's The Anthropomorphic Metaphor in Slovene and English Wine Tasting Discourses (2013).

These works highlight the dominance of metaphors in wine language, and they generally attribute the widespread use of metaphor to the fact that the tasting vocabulary is rather poor. According to Coutier (1994: 662), "Gustatory impressions do not correspond to an objective referential vocabulary and as these impressions are often highly subjective, the vocabulary describing them is marked by analogy and metaphor ..." While most wine-language researchers seem to not only accept but also welcome the use of metaphors, Peynaud's opinion of the role of metaphor seems to be that of a necessary evil, if used in moderation: "There are circumstances where a little fantasy is appropriate ... But a word of advice: do not overdo it. Not all wines can stand exaggerated descriptions and not all audiences can put up with the absurd" (in Bruce, 1999: 158).

Several researchers (Suarez-Toste, 2007; Bratoz, 2013) point out that, while conceptual metaphors may refer to the wine itself, these are often expanded endlessly to cover other, more specific aspects (color, tannin, etc). So, for example, the adjective seductive can be used to describe a wine in general or one of its aspects (e.g., seductive currant and blackberry fruit).

After indicating the problems of metaphor identification, researchers have generally set about the task of classifying the metaphors they have identified, initially on the basis of the experiential domains where the lexis seems to originate--the source domains. Their source domain classifications are remarkably similar, which some have interpreted as being indicative of the universality of metaphors. However, as Negro points out, the French wine discourse has exclusive characterizations of wine in terms of food and music imagery (2011: 482).

Finally, a few researchers take the classification of metaphors a step further and comment on the conventional/creative nature of wine-related metaphors. While the majority of these metaphors are conventional, creative metaphors are also found in wine writing.


Our corpus-based contrastive study of metaphors in English and Spanish wine language involves the following steps:

1. Selecting terms to be analyzed for metaphorical use in our corpus.

2. Searching for terms in the corpus and classifying them as retained for further analysis, not retained for further analysis at this stage, not retained for further analysis and deleted from our list.

3. Analyzing the metaphorical expressions identified both quantitatively and qualitatively.

4. Arriving at conclusions based on our corpus findings, bearing in mind the culture-related questions posed above.

3. 1. Selection of terms for analysis

One way to identify metaphorical expressions in a corpus is to read through all (or a given number of) texts and pinpoint all items that seem metaphorical in nature. This is a very long and painstaking process which does not take advantage of computerized tools, the results of which may not justify the time and effort involved. Another way to identify metaphorical expressions in a corpus is to choose a source domain (e.g., Human beings) by means of which information is mapped onto the target domain (e.g., wine), then select a number of key terms related to human beings (e.g., age, young, old, character, strong, robust) and finally, using a browser, identify contexts in the corpus containing these words to see if they are indeed used metaphorically in wine discourse. While this method does allow for the use of a browser, the research is necessarily limited to one or two source domains. We chose a different method, which we considered more inclusive and also more objective, i.e., less dependent on the researcher's personal choices or their total reliance on intuition to pinpoint metaphors.

We began with a list of 145 wine descriptors drawn up by Lehrer (2009: 99-100) for use in her wine tasting experiments, which were designed to investigate systematically how speakers actually describe and discuss wines when they are drinking them. These terms were selected from wine descriptors found in the published literature on wine, and those selected were the most frequently used and those for which definitions or characterizations could be found. This original list was later shortened by Lehrer to 117 words, mostly by deleting some words that the earlier subjects never or rarely used, although a few new words that these subjects found useful were added. Given that Lehrer's list included items other than metaphoric expressions, we attempted to further reduce her list by comparing the items it contained with items found in four articles on metaphors in wine language: Bratoz (2013), Suarez-Toste (2007), Caballero and Ibarretxe (2013), and Caballero and Suarez-Toste (2008). We retained those items marked as metaphorical or found in a metaphorical example in at least one of these articles. This stage of elimination left us with a total of 59 items in English that were potentially metaphorical in wine language.

In order to be able to do a comparative study of metaphors in English and Spanish, we elected to use the Spanish equivalents of the English terms as our starting point in Spanish. Thus the 59 terms or term combinations in English are matched with 59 terms or term combinations in Spanish. By term combinations we mean derivatives grouped together (e.g., ES elegante + elegancia), or simple terms and compounds grouped together (e.g., EN light + light-bodied), or two Spanish equivalents used to translate the same English word (e.g., ES gordo + grueso used to render EN fat) (1). So, although we have based all our analytical remarks on 59 terms and term combinations examined in each language, we are actually dealing with a larger number of different terms. Presented below are the English and Spanish terms:
Table 1


aged          envejecido        Nutty            nuez

aromatic       aromatico        Oaky          amaderado

austere         austero          Old          de guarda

big             amplio        Perfumed        perfumado

bouquet          Buque        Powerful    poderoso + potente

bland          insipido         Rich             rico

character   (con) character     Ripe            maduro

clean           limpio         Robust          robusto

complex        complejo         Round          redondo

delicate       delicado        Savory          sabroso

earthy          terroso        Scented      (con) esencia

elegant       elegante +        Sharp          anguloso

fat         gordo + grueso     Smooth           suave

feminine       femenino         Soft            suave

fine +       fino + finura      Solid           firme

firm             firme          Sour            agrio

flabby           flojo          Spicy         especiado

flat             plano         Strong           fuerte

fresh           fresco        Succulent       suculento

fruity         afrutado        Subtle           sutil

full-        (con) cuerpo       Sweet           dulce

grap(e)y       varietal        Tannic           tanico

graceful       elegante         Tart        acido + amargo

green            verde          Thin           delgado

heavy           pesado         Velvety      aterciopelado

honest          honesto       Vigorous         vigoroso

light (+        ligero          Weak            debil

lively      alegre + vivaz      Wild           salvaje

metallic       metalico         Young           joven

mineral         mineral

These 59 English terms (or term combinations) (2) and their Spanish equivalents were searched in our corpus using a browser.

3. 2. Description of the corpus

Our corpus is an English and Spanish comparable corpus of wine tasting notes, selected from specialized websites such as the websites for Denominations of Origin in Spain and the VQA Ontario Appellations of Origin website in English (among others). All the wine-tasting notes chosen were included in wine-tasting technical sheets released by wineries. The corpus contains over 700 notes in each of the languages. (3).

The 59 English lexical items and their Spanish equivalents were each examined in turn, as follows:

Step 1: The lexical item was searched in the corpus. If the item was not found there, it was eliminated from our list. If it was found in the corpus, we continued with the following steps.

Step 2: The concordance lines for the lexical item in question were examined to see if the item was used metaphorically in all, some or none of the contexts.

* If the item was not used metaphorically in any contexts or in any pertinent contexts, it was not retained for further analysis.

* If the item was used metaphorically only in a single pertinent context, it was not retained for further analysis at this stage, since a larger corpus would be required to confirm metaphorical use.

* If the item was used metaphorically in more than one context, those contexts were further analyzed to see what accounted for the metaphorical use of the item.

Step 3: Finally, for those items deemed to exhibit metaphorical use, we attempted to identify the source domain of the metaphor and then determine whether the metaphor was conventional or creative.

3.3. Methodological issues

3.3.1. Metaphor identification

Caballero and Ibarretxe (2013: 274) discuss the problem of metaphor identification. While they indicate that this has given rise to recent attempts to build an objective, scientific identification procedure by some scholars (Pragglejaz Group, 2007; Steen, 2007; Steen et al., 2010), research which has led to some interesting insights, they feel that metaphor identification remains an issue in all those approaches. And they point out, using a concrete example, that different individuals have different opinions on whether the use of a given word is metaphorical or not. They suggest that the different reactions show that the metaphorical status of a given expression may result from the disparity of the experiential domains involved as well as from the way it appears in a particular text.

3.3.2. Role of context

According to Caballero and Ibarretxe (2013: 274), the formal and contextual aspects intrinsic to the actual instantiation of metaphors need to be considered if we want to gain some insight into metaphor. And there is no doubt that context is required to determine metaphorical use. A problem arises when trying to determine, on the basis of context, whether a term can generally be used metaphorically or whether an apparently metaphorical use of a term is due primarily to another element in the context. Let us consider the following contexts:
   The supple tannins coupled with the oak give a STRONG, supportive
   backbone to this wine

The metaphorical use of 'strong' applied to a given wine is heightened in this context by the combination of strong with the words supportive and backbone. However, merely adding a descriptive term to backbone does not automatically mean that term is used metaphorically, as the following example reveals:
   The palate offers beautifully ripened fruit, a firm yet not too
   TANNIC backbone, with a rich and extremely long flavorful finish.

In this example, tannic backbone simply means 'a backbone of tannins'. While backbone is used metaphorically here, tannic is not.

3.3.3. Contexts

Contexts for each of the terms in our original list were carefully examined, both globally and in terms of their constituents, before we decided if the term was used metaphorically or not in each case. Moreover, we required a minimum of two contexts of metaphorical use before declaring that the term represented a metaphor.

3.3.4. Source domains

Following the cognitive theory of metaphor, metaphor involves understanding a domain of experience (the target domain) in terms of a more concrete domain (the source domain). Our target domain, as indicated by our corpus, is wine, and more specifically all aspects of wine involved in wine tasting. Rather than reinvent the wheel in terms of source domains, we have borrowed our source domain categories from different researchers working on metaphor in the language of wine: Coutier (1994), Caballero and Suarez-Toste (2008), Negro (2011), Bratoz (2013), among others.

Caballero and Suarez-Toste (2010: 281-286) have identified five metaphors in the language of wine tasting in the English language:

* Wines are living beings. This generic-level metaphor subsumes the specific-level metaphors: wines are people, wines are animals and wines are plants, which are instantiated by terms like muscular, feminine, bold, expressive, shy, austere, intellectual, ambitious, feline and fragrant.

* Wines are clothes. Wines may be described as silky, velvety smooth or have a glove or mantle.

* Wines are three dimensional objects. Wines can be regarded as square, angular or round.

* Wines are buildings, as suggested by their being fortified.

* Wines are malleable wood or metal building material and are thus represented as rough or molten.

Negro's corpus-based research in French (2011: 481-484) gives evidence of five conceptual metaphors (i.e., wines are people, wines are clothes, wines are buildings, wines are objects and wines are food) and a set of synaesthetic metaphors drawn from the perceptual mode of hearing.

Basing ourselves on the source domains suggested by the researchers cited above, we have retained the following source domains and subdomains for our use, since they apply to our terms:

* Human beings: Age, Physical body, Personality, General appearance, Clothes, Economic condition

* Plants: Development

* Objects: Shape, Size, Firmness, Feel

* Buildings: Structure, Size

* Textiles: Feel

* Food: Taste

Where a metaphor can be interpreted as being derived from either of two source domains, both are indicated.

3.3.5. Metaphor types

Finally, all metaphorical expressions are classified as either conventional or creative, a distinction traditionally used by researchers on metaphor. Put very simply, "conventional metaphors are metaphorical usages which are found again and again to refer to a particular thing. Cases in point are the metaphors of cells fighting off infection and of micro-organisms invading; the metaphorical meaning of divorced to mean 'completely separated' and field to refer to a specialized subject or activity. These kinds of metaphors are institutionalized as part of the language. Most of the time we hardly notice them at all, and do not think of them as metaphorical when we use or encounter them" (Knowles and Moon, 2006). Creative metaphors, on the other hand, are original comparisons that call attention to themselves.

How does one distinguish between conventional and creative metaphors? Given that conventional metaphors are those that are commonly used, frequency has been proposed as a criterion. However, Keysar et al. (2000) suggest that the difference between them lies in how we understand them.
   People can understand conventional expressions, such as I'm
   depressed, without recourse to any mappings between domains or, in
   Lakoff and Johnson's terms, conceptual mappings such as Sad is down
   (2000: 591).

   When, on the other hand, an expression or metaphor is novel, more
   inferential work must be done. To understand an expression such as
   the crime rate has reached meltdown proportions, people might
   either access or create an analogy between crime situations and
   nuclear reactors. If nuclear reactors had previously been
   encountered as a metaphor for dangerous situations, then the
   conceptual mapping between nuclear reactors and dangerous
   situations could be accessed and instantiated in terms of criminal
   activities (2000: 578).

We have based our categorization of metaphors as conventional or creative on two criteria: a) our ease of understanding the metaphor; and b) the inclusion of the terms under study in other studies on metaphors in wine language.


After an initial search for the 59 English terms or term combinations and 58 Spanish terms or term combinations (step 1 of the methodology), 10 were deleted from our English list and 14 from our Spanish list, because no examples were found in the corpus. This was the case for the English terms austere, bland, flabby, flat, grap(e)y, honest, metallic, nutty, oaky and weak, and for the Spanish terms insipido, gordo + grueso, flojo, plano, verde, pesado, honesto, metalico, amaderado, anguloso, agrio, suculento, delgado, debil.

After examining the corpus examples for the remaining 49 English and 44 Spanish terms and term combinations (step 2 of our methodology), 19 English terms and 14 Spanish terms were not retained for further analysis, for one of the following four reasons.

In a number of cases, we found only one example of metaphorical use in the corpus, which we considered insufficient evidence for our purpose. This was true, for instance, of the Spanish salvaje, which was used metaphorically in only one of four corpus examples: Rico, ahumado y SALVAJE en la nariz con aromas de ciruelo aconfitado, licor de cereza, carne carbonizada, cafe, tabaco y caja de cigarros.

In some cases, the examples were not pertinent, i.e. not related to wine; e.g. the only example for fat in the English corpus referred not to the wine being described, but to peaches: The first impression is of FAT, ripe, golden peaches.

In other cases, the corpus examples were wine-related, but the terms were not used metaphorically; e.g., the English fruity is used to qualify wine, its aromas, its flavours and its tannins, but it is always used in its literal sense as in the following context: The 2006 Dolce is intensely FRUITY, driven by aromas of citrus and stone fruits.

Finally, in a few instances, the corpus examples revealed that the apparent metaphorical use of the term was related not to wine, but to another element in the context. This is the case of the descriptor solid in the example The SOLID partnership between the spicy Shiraz and the vivacious Mourvedre is supported by the perfumed flowery notes of the Viogier, where solid is used metaphorically in the sense of 'close-knit', but this use is due to its association with the word "partnership" and not directly with the blended wine being described.

At this stage of analysis, the following terms were eliminated. English: bouquet, fat, fruity, green, heavy, mineral, scented, sharp, solid, sour, spicy, succulent, subtle, sweet, tannic, tart, thin, vigorous, and wild. Spanish: buque, complejo, femenino, afrutado, varietal, mineral, nuez, sabroso, esencia, especiado, dulce, tanico, acido + amargo, and salvaje. After this process of elimination, we ended up with a list of 30 English and 30 Spanish terms used metaphorically, although the matching number of terms was purely coincidental. The following table presents these terms along with their equivalents in the other language. When the equivalent term in one language did not provide evidence of metaphorical use, it is presented in square brackets.

The first point that is worth mentioning is that these terms are used metaphorically not only when applied directly to wine (e.g., young wine, aged wine, light(-bodied) wine, vino amplio, vino rico), but also, in many cases, when applied to some important aspect of wine--i.e., nose, development, tannins, acidity, etc. (e.g., big tannins, clean finish, finos taninos, estructura firme). This finding supports Suarez-Toste's conclusion (2007: 54) that conceptual metaphors that refer to the wine itself are often expanded endlessly to cover other, more specific aspects of wine.

The vast majority of the metaphors use "Human beings" as the basis of comparison; in other words, they are anthropomorphic. This is the case of 24 out of the 30 English terms and 23 out of the 30 Spanish terms demonstrating metaphorical use. Again, this confirms Suarez-Toste's finding (2007: 54) that "if there is one inescapable schema in this context, that is surely anthropomorphic metaphor." Other source domains are relatively rare: in English, "Plants" is the source domain for two metaphors, "Buildings" for two (but as an alternate domain, see below), and finally "Textiles" for one and "Food" for one; in Spanish, "Plants" is the source domain for three metaphors (although as an alternate domain for one), "Objects" for three (although in one case as an alternate domain), "Buildings" for three (again in two cases as an alternate domain), and finally "Textiles" for one.

However, in three cases in English (firm, robust, round) and in three cases in Spanish (firme, robusto, maduro), the metaphor could be interpreted in two different ways; in other words, there are two possible source domains for the metaphor, one of which is "Human beings", the other being "Objects" (for firm, round and firme), "Buildings" (for robust and robusto), and "Plants" (for maduro). Although Lehrer (2009) has pointed out the difficulty of interpreting certain words in winespeak, (4) neither she nor any of those who have written on metaphor in wine have discussed the possibility of a wine-related metaphor having more than one potential source domain. However, Katz and Taylor (2008: 152) point out that conceptual metaphor theorists have posited multiple source domains that can be used to structure the target "LIFE" and it is possible that subsets of the participants in their empirical studies might employ different mappings or that even the same person might activate different mappings.

The possibility of different mappings, discussed above at the level of domains, is even more apparent at the level of subdomains. For example, the adjective clean in EN is clearly attached metaphorically to the source domain of "Human beings", but it can be seen as relating either to the "Physical body" or "Clothes" of human beings. In the case of other terms like delicate, the subdomain could either be "General appearance" or the "Physical body" of human beings, depending on the context.

Of the 30 metaphorical expressions in English and the 30 in Spanish, the vast majority (28 in English and 29 in Spanish) presented conventional metaphors. Only three appear to be used more creatively: aromatic and feminine in English and aromatico in Spanish. Although the English terms have been identified as metaphorical in other studies on wine language and would thus normally be categorized by us as conventional metaphors, some of the contexts in which they are found are rather original:
   This rooster is sleek, suave and seductive. His AROMATIC presence
   reveals smoky oak, rich plum fruit, red licorice, black pepper,
   black cherry and clove spice scents.

   The silky smooth palate is beautifully balanced; seamless, FEMININE
   and very approachable....

In both cases, there is obvious personification. In the context of aromatic, the wine, designated here as "this rooster" because it comes from the Red Rooster Winery, is seen as an attractive male. In the context for feminine, the taste of the wine is described as an attractive woman. While one might argue that feminine implies 'woman' and that there is no originality in this case and perhaps even no metaphorization, it seems unusual to present the palate (i.e. the sense of taste) as an attractive but approachable female. But such cases are rare. All in all, wine discourse in English, while full of metaphors, contains mainly conventional metaphors.

The same is true of Spanish, where only certain contexts for aromatico revealed creative metaphorical use. Aspecto aromatico was used ten times when describing aroma, that is to say, smell, despite the fact that "aspect" means 'appearance to the eye; visual effect', according to the Collins Dictionary and hence would normally be used to describe the appearance of a wine and not its "aromas".

However, if we were to examine wine-related metaphors on a continuum with respect to their level of conventionality, from metaphorically-motivated terminology to creative linguistic metaphors, the picture would be slightly different. Firstly, words such as savo(u)ry in metaphorically motivated terms such as savory tannins, where the metaphor is no longer evident, would be considered metaphorical. Secondly, the eight English terms and three Spanish terms which we did not retain for further analysis at this stage because we found only a single example of metaphorical use in our corpus could be considered to be in the process of metaphorization, at the very least. If metaphoricity is seen as a question of degree rather than a series of dichotomies (metaphor vs. non-metaphor; conventional metaphor vs. creative metaphor), then the percentage of metaphors in wine language increases dramatically (by 15% in English).


In this final section of our paper, we will do a head-to-head comparison of metaphors in English and Spanish wine language, with the goal of answering the four questions posed in the Introduction. Partial answers have already emerged in our presentation of results. However, more direct comparison between the two languages should lead to clearer conclusions.

1. Is a metaphoric expression in one language usually rendered by a metaphoric expression in another language?

Our study has shown that a metaphoric expression in English is usually rendered by a metaphoric expression in Spanish. This was the case for 27 English terms or term combinations (out of 30), which are presented below:
Table 3

NGLISH                           SPANISH

aged                   envejecido + envejecimiento

aromatic                        aromatico

big                              amplio

character                    (con) caracter

clean                            limpio

delicate                        delicado

earthy                           terroso

elegant                   elegante + elegancia

fine + finesse                fino + finura

firm                              firme

fresh                            fresco

full-bodied                  (con/de) cuerpo

graceful                        elegante

light + light-bodied             ligero

lively                       alegre + vivaz

old                              guarda

perfumed                        perfumado

powerful                   poderoso + potente

rich                              rico

ripe                             maduro

robust                           robusto

round                            redondo

smooth                            suave

soft                              suave

strong                           fuerte

velvety                       aterciopelado

young                             joven

There were only six cases where either the English term or the Spanish term was metaphorical but not both: EN complex, feminine, ES austero, firme, sutil, vigoroso. And in the case of the equivalents for three of these six (ES femenino, EN subtle and vigorous), there was some indication of metaphorical use, but as there was only one example, we did not classify them as metaphorical expressions. Overall, it is abundantly clear that a metaphoric expression in English is usually rendered by a metaphoric expression in Spanish.

2. Does the conceptual domain remain the same in both languages?

Given that metaphoric expressions in English usually have metaphoric equivalents in Spanish, the next question that arises is the source domain of the terms in the two languages. Do they both draw from the same source domain to create metaphor? The following table shows side by side both the source domain and subdomain of the English terms or term combinations and their Spanish equivalents.

The above table reveals that the equivalent metaphorical expressions in English and Spanish generally draw upon the same source domain, which in most cases is "Human beings". There is some discrepancy between the two languages where two source domains are possible in one or both languages: in three such cases (big/amplio, ripe/maduro, round/redondo), the English and Spanish terms share one source domain but not the other.

There is greater discrepancy when it comes to subdomains, but even there the differences occur most often when more than one subdomain comes into play. Overall, then, we can say that the conceptual domain remains the same in both languages.

3. Are metaphorical expressions used more frequently in one language than another?

The answer to this question is to be found in section 5 Analysis of Results, where it was noted that 30 English terms and term combinations and 30 Spanish terms and term combinations demonstrate metaphorical use. The similarity between the two languages is significant enough for us to conclude that metaphorical expressions are equally frequent in both.

4. Are the metaphors used more conventional than creative in one language than another?

This issue has also been discussed in section 5 Analysis of Results, where it was noted that, of the 30 metaphorical expressions in English and in Spanish, the vast majority (28 in English and 29 in Spanish) presented conventional metaphors. Only three appear to be used more creatively: aromatic and feminine in English and aromatico in Spanish. Given the very small number of creative metaphors, it would be illadvised to state that one language (English) uses more creative metaphors than the other (Spanish) at this time.


This study of metaphors in English and Spanish wine tasting notes has confirmed what others have said about metaphors in wine language:

* A large number of metaphors are used in wine language

* These metaphors are primarily anthropomorphic in nature

* They are primarily conventional metaphors

What the comparative analysis of English and Spanish wine language also reveals is that, contrary to what Caballero and Ibarretxe (2013) seem to suggest, the differences in English and Spanish cultures do not seem to affect the metaphorical use of language in our corpus. Although these researchers have stated that two cultures may convey the same 'reality' by drawing upon different metaphorical sources, we found that, by and large, both cultures conveyed the same reality by drawing upon the same metaphorical source domain. However, further bilingual studies need to be conducted before the universality of metaphors can be proven or disputed.


Amoraritei, Loredana (2002), "La Metaphore en Oenologie [Metaphores in Oenology],, 3, pp. 1-12.

Bratoz, Silva (2013), "The Antropomorphic Metaphor in Slovene and English Wine Tasting Discourses", English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, X, pp. 23-35.

Bruce, Nigel (1999), "Classification and Hierarchy in the Discourse of Wine: Emile Peynaud's The Taste of Wine", ASp, 23-26, pp. 149-164.

Caballero, Rosario (2007), "Manner-of-Motion Verbs in Wine Description", Journal of Pragmatics, 39, pp. 2095-2114.

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ACTRES-Universidad de Valladolid. Departamento de Filologia Inglesa. Facultad de Filosofia y Letras. Plaza del Campus s/n. 47011 Valladolid. Spain

Direccion de correo electronico:

ORCID: 0000-0002-9171-1910.


ACTRES-University of Ottawa. Bilingual Canadian Dictionary. 40 Stweart, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5.

Direccion de correo electronico:

Recibido: 18/6/2015. Aceptado: 27/9/2016.


* Research for this article has been undertaken as part of the ACTRES program, partly funded by the Castilla and Leon Regional Government (LE227413), and the Ministry of Education (FFI2013-42994-R). ACTRES stands for Analisis Contrastivo y Traduccion Especializada / Contrastive Analysis and Specialized Translation.

(1) However, in two cases, two English words have a single equivalent in Spanish (EN smooth and soft = ES suave; and EN firm and solid = ES firme. Several other groupings have been included in our analysis: elegante and elegancia because of the common features they share; fine and finesse and their Spanish counterparts fino and finura because they are part of the same family and share common features; alegre and vivaz as they share common features; and poderoso and potente.

(2) Light-bodied was not on Lehner's list but showed up in our EN corpus when we browsed for contexts with light. It was therefore added to light and grouped with it because of their semantic relationship;

(3) Each of the texts in the comparable corpus is individually labelled for rhetorical structure, using a specially created computer program. The Tagger is an on-line software component designed to signal the rhetorical moves in every corpus as well as to manage and store the labelled files (for further information see http://contraste Once the English and Spanish texts are tagged with rhetorical labels, the various moves and steps can be further compared and analysed using a specially created browser, whose search menu includes an option to analyze and contrast rhetorical structures as well as a concordancer, The browser allows the user the possibility of restricting the searches to a given move and/or step/subtep. The concordancer allows the user to examine linguistic items in context. These were the tools used to analyze potential metaphorical expressions in our corpus.

(4) Lehrer (2009: 31) cites as an example pretentious (wine), which could be interpreted to mean a fairly expensive wine, labeled to imitate a wine that was better, or one that tries to surpass the noble wines in certain ways.
Table 2

ENGLISH                         SPANISH

aged                  envejecido + envejecimiento

aromatic                       aromatico

[austere]                       austero

big                             amplio

character                      caracter

clean                           limpio

complex                       [complejo]

delicate                       delicado

earthy                          terroso

elegant                  elegante + elegancia

feminine                      [femenino]

fine + finesse               fino + finura

firm                             firme

fresh                           fresco

full-bodied             con cuerpo / de cuerpo

graceful                       elegante

light +light-bodied             ligero

lively                       alegre+vivaz

old                             guarda

perfumed                       perfumado

powerful                  poderoso + potente

rich                             rico

ripe                            maduro

robust                          robusto

round                           redondo

savo(u)ry                      [sabroso]

smooth                           suave

soft                             suave

[solid]                          firme

strong                          fuerte

[subtle]                         sutil

velvety                      aterciopelado

[vigorous]                     vigoroso

young                            joven

Table 4

ENGLISH                                      SPANISH

aged                               envejecido + envejecimiento
Source domain: Human beings:      Source domain: Human beings:
Age                                            Age

aromatic                                    aromatico
Source domain: Human beings:      Source domain: Human beings:
Personality                                Personality

big                                          amplio
Source domain: Human beings:     Source domain: Buildings: Size
Physical body or Buildings:             or Objects: Size

character                                 con caracter
Source domain: Human beings:      Source domain: Human beings:
Personality                                Personality

clean                              limpio Source Domain: Human
Source domain: Human beings:
Physical body or Clothes           beings: General appearance

delicate                          delicado Source Domain: Human
Source domain: Human beings:       beings: General appearance
General appearance
or Physical body

earthy                            terroso Source domain: Plants
Source domain: Plants

elegant                            elegante + elegancia Source
Source domain: Human beings:      domain: Human beings: General
General appearance                  appearance or Personality
or Personality

fine + finesse                    fino + finura Source domain:
Source domain: Human                  Human beings: General
beings: Physical body              appearance or Physical body
or Personality                           or Personality

firm                               firme Source domain: Human
Source domain:                      beings: Physical body or
Human beings: Physical s               Objects: Firmness.
body or Objects: Firmnes

fresh Source                      fresco Source domain: Plants
domain: Human
beings: Personality

full-bodied                         con cuerpo Source domain:
Source domain:                     Human beings: Physical body
Human beings:
Physical body

graceful                          elegante Source domain: Human
Source domain:                    beings: General appearance or
Human beings:                              Personality
General appearance

light + light-bodied               ligero Source domain: Human
Source domain:                        beings: Physical body
Human beings:
Physical body

lively                            alegre + vivaz Source domain:
Source domain: Human                Human beings: Personality
beings: Personality

old Source Age                      de guarda Source domain:
domain: Human beings:                   Human beings: Age

perfumed                            perfumado Source domain:
Source domain:                        Human beings: General
Human beings:                              appearance
General appearance

powerful                            poderoso + potente Source
Source domain:                    domain: Human beings: General
Human beings: Physical              appearance or Personality
body or Personality

rich                                rico Source domain: Human
Source domain:                     beings: Economic condition
Human beings:
Economic condition

ripe                               maduro Source domain: Human
Source domain:                       beings: Age or Plants:
Plants: Development                        Development

robust                            robusto Source domain: Human
Source domain:                    beings: General appearance or
Human beings:                         Buildings: Structure
Physical body or
Buildings: Structure

round                                redondo Source domain:
Source domain:                           Objects: Shape
Objects: Shape or
Human beings:
Physical body

smooth                            suave Source domain: Objects:
Source domain:                          Firmness or Feel
Objects: Feel

soft                              suave Source domain: Objects:
Source domain:                          Firmness or Feel
Objects: Feel

strong                                fuerte Human beings:
Human beings:                     Personality or Physical body
Physical body

velvety                           aterciopelado Source domain:
Source domain:                           Textiles: Feel
Textiles: Feel

young                                     joven Source
Source domain:                      domain: Human beings: Age
Human beings: Age
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Author:Lopez Arroyo, Belen; Roberts, Roda P.
Publication:Revista Hermeneus
Date:Jan 1, 2017
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