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Metaphors we love by: on the cognitive metaphors of love from the 15th century to the present.

1. Introduction

In their pioneering book Metaphors We Live By Lakoff and Johnson (1980: 22) claimed that "the most fundamental values in a culture will be coherent with the metaphorical structure of the most fundamental concepts in the culture". Almost twenty years later, Gyori (1998: 99) followed in their footsteps by stating that "cultural category formation inevitably involves linguistic coding, because there is no other way for a conceptual category to spread in a culture, i.e. to become explicitly part of the individual members of that culture."

One of the issues which has been studied in detail in the twenty-year history of cognitive metaphors is romantic love. The pioneer in this respect is Kovecses, who started with a discussion of the concepts romantic love, anger and pride (Kovecses 1986) and later wrote another book completely dedicated to romantic love (Kovecses 1988). These undertakings led Kovecses (1990) to consider the structure of emotion concepts in general and to compare their individual and shared characteristics within the framework of the cognitive metaphor theory.

Kovecses (1986, 1988, 1990, 2000) always treats specifically romantic love, not love as a more general concept. My previous studies of the meaning of the word LOVE suggest that if one compares romantic and sexual love (eros) with family love (storge), friendship love (philia), religious love (agape) and love of things (khreia), eros indeed tends to be the most frequent category in comparisons across different text categories (Tissari 1999, 2000, 2001). Consequently, eros may be the most prototypical of the different loves that human beings experience (Geeraerts 1988: 208). Nevertheless, I will also include the other kinds of love in the present study in order to approach an overall view of the meaning of the word LOVE.

To cover the different approaches to cognitive metaphors that have evolved since Metaphors We Live By, Gibbs and Steen (1999b) suggest that cognitive linguists adhere to two major commitments. These are (a) the commitment to seek general principles that govern all aspects of human language, and (b) the commitment to make accounts of human language consistent with what is generally known about human cognition. In fact, these commitments were introduced by Lakoff (1990: 90-91), who prioritised the cognitive commitment (b). (1)

The main question of this article was formulated with respect to the cognitive commitment (b). Langacker (1987: 147-150) suggests that there are such basic cognitive entities as space, time, the visual system and the hearing system. He calls these basic domains. A dozen years later, he presents the same idea in a chrystallised form (Langacker 1999: 171): "... certain cognitive domains (such as space, time and the sensory domains) are basic by virtue of constituting irreducible realms of conceptual potential."

This article employs corpus methodology in order to see what kind of cognitive metaphors appear together with the word LOVE itself in Early Modern and Present-Day English. Instead of presenting a long array of all kinds of metaphors, it focuses on the basic cognitive domains of space, time and sensory perception. This seems to be in accordance with the generalisation commitment (a) as well: if space, time and sensory domains really constitute irreducible realms of human conceptual potential, then they should also govern all aspects of human language.

2. More on love and cognitive metaphors

2.1. Suggested central metaphors

Kovecses (1986: 62) says: "[a]mongst the various ways of conceptualizing love the model according to which love is a UNITY OF TWO COMPLEMENTARY PARTS is perhaps central." His examples of this metaphor include: "We were made for each other. She is my better half Theirs is a perfect match. There is something between them." He claims that the metaphor LOVE IS A UNITY OF TWO COMPLEMENTARY PARTS is natural and obvious for at least two reasons. Firstly, we can see certain resemblances between our experiences of love and the unity of two complementary objects or substances. Above all, we often consider physical closeness to be the hallmark of love. Secondly, the metaphor entails such consequences as seem to explain our love experiences: that bonds between people can be strong or weak, that a unity can be stable but also cease to exist, and so on (Kovecses 1986: 62-65).

Elsewhere, Kovecses points out that the container metaphor is central to understanding any emotion (Kovecses 1990: 144-159). This metaphor is a theoretical abstraction. It posits that because we are bound to our bodies we project an in-out orientation, not only to buildings and rooms, but also to events, actions, activities and states, even "emotional states" (Lakoff -- Johnson 1980: 29-32). Kovecses (1990: 144-159) shows that the container metaphor works in two ways with respect to emotions. The emotion can either be the container, or it can be contained in the human body. One can also name the more specific metaphors THE BODY IS A CONTAINER, THE MIND IS A CONTAINER, and THE EMOTIONS ARE FLUIDS IN A CONTAINER. The following are examples of these:


(b) Emotion welled up inside her. (THE EMOTIONS ARE FLUIDS IN A CONTAINER)

(c) I feel empty. (THE BODY IS A CONTAINER)

(d) He got a swelled head. (THE MIND IS A CONTAINER)

2.1. Defining and seeking cognitive metaphors

The theory of cognitive metaphors rejects the traditional terms "tenor" and "vehicle". Instead, it speaks of the "source domain" and the "target domain". The source domain is the area of experience from which we "fetch" the metaphors, such as physical unity, or the experience of being in a container. The target domain, on the other hand, is what we want to describe. In this article the target domain is love, while the very general source domains that we look at are space, time and sensory perception.

It would be more typical of a study of cognitive metaphors to first collect a list of more specific metaphors, such as SADNESS IS HUNGER, or LOVE IS ABILITY/POWER (Gyori 1998: 109-110), and then to seek metaphors which are as general as possible (remember the generalisation commitment (a)). Kovecses (1990, 1998) develops his studies into this direction through collecting cognitive metaphors typical of certain emotions and then concluding which can be used to sketch a prototypical emotion. It is thus that he is able to posit the centrality of the container metaphor for the conceptualisation of all emotions (Kovecses 1990: 144-159; Kovecses 1998: 133). (2) Lakoff (1987: 406) himself suggests that there are superordinate (constitutive) and basic-level metaphors.

"Is there a procedure for the determination of conceptual metaphor when metaphorical language has been encountered?" asks Steen (1999). Because of an end-1990s proliferation in articles on metaphors, this is a very relevant question. Steen's (1999) rigorous model consists of five steps: (1) First one identifies the "metaphor focus". It is a word or string of words that expresses a metaphorical idea, e.g., watchdog. (2) It is this idea that needs to be identified next, e.g., by constructing the proposition BE ORGANISATION WATCHDOG (meaning: an organisation functions as a watchdog in society). (3) Then one identifies the "nonliteral comparison", such as "Some property of a committee is like some property of a watchdog". (4) At stage four one identifies this property, "guarding property or people". This is called "nonliteral analogy identification". (5) Lastly, in the "nonliteral mapping identification" one constructs a list of matching attributes between what traditionally have been called the tenor (ORGANISATI ON) and the vehicle (WATCHDOG).

Actually, much of what Steen (1999) does is to put new clothes on Lakoff's pioneering presentation of the structure of cognitive metaphors. Lakoff (1987: 386-388) introduced the terms source and target domain when he compared ANGER to HEAT OF FLUID IN A CONTAINER. He also talked about what he called "ontological" and "epistemic" correspondences. The ontological correspondences describe how the source and target domains match. For example, "The container is the body", "The heat of fluid is the anger", and "The heat scale is the anger scale, with end points zero and limit [followed by explosion]." The epistemic correspondences on the other hand relate knowledge about the source domain with knowledge about the target domain. For example: "Source: An explosion may be prevented by the application of sufficient force and energy to keep the fluid in. Target: A loss of control may be prevented by the application of sufficient force and energy to keep the anger in."

It makes little sense to run two parallel systems - "Lakoffian" and "Steenian" -, but I think Steen's (1999) question is nevertheless relevant. With so many people doing metaphor research, it would be very helpful to have more "common denominators", especially when it comes to defining what "metaphor" is and what "metaphorical language" is. One indicator of this need is the proliferation of articles on the differences between metaphor and metonymy (Goossens 1995; Panther Radden 1999; Barcelona 2000). The present working definition of metaphor is, however, adopted from Lakoff and Johnson (1980: 85), who could not yet predict all the forthcoming discussion, but simply stated that the source and target domains of a metaphor are clearly different from each other. The working hypothesis is that a clear distinction can be made between love and objects in time and space, or love as an emotion and the sensory perception of what surrounds us; but this is of course a simplification. I will borrow Steen's (1999) term "m etaphor focus" to refer to the metaphorical expression as an object in text.

Although love is treated as an emotion in this article, one might want to add that it can also be considered as something else. The Oxford English Dictionary defines love as a "disposition or feeling towards a person" (italics added). Indeed, it should be taken into account that a metaphor of love which one encounters in text need not reflect an emotion, but can also convey some other aspect of a certain culture.

3. Data and method

3.1. The corpora

Two of the present data sources represent the Early Modem English period. They are the Early Modern English period of The Helsinki Corpus of English Texts (HC) and The Corpus of Early English Correspondence Sampler (CEECS). In most studies, the Early Modem English period stretches from about 1500 to around 1700 (Barber 1976: 13; Gorlach 1978: 22), but CEECS actually covers the time span 1417-1681, thus extending the period into Late Middle English. The advantage to using CEECS is that, apart from drama, it is likely to be as close to everyday spoken Early Modern English as one can get. It also offers a more extensive look at a single genre, while HC provides a whole repertoire of different text types (Nurmi 1998, 1999; Kyto - Rissanen 1993: 10-14; Nevalainen - Raumolin-Brunberg 1993). The size of the Early Modem English period in HO is 551,000 words (Kyto 1996: 2), while the CEECS contains 450,000 words (Nurmi 1998, 1999).

The data sources for Present-Day English are the Freiburg-Brown (FROWN) and Freiburg-LOB (FLOB) corpora, which are one-million-word corpora similar to The Brown Corpus (BROWN) and The Lancaster-Oslo/Bergen Corpus (LOB), but compiled of more recent material (Hundt - Sand - Siemund 1998; Hundt - Sand - Skandera 1999). In contrast to the Early Modem corpora, these corpora contain no drama or letters, but they contain a lot of fiction.

When one uses a concordance program to search and assess the frequency of the lexeme LOVE in these corpora, the outcome is that it is most frequent in CEECS, less frequent by half in HG and again less frequent by half in the Present-Day English corpora (see Table 1). This count includes all types which are derived from LOVE in one way or another, for example LOVER and LOVINGLY. (3)

3.2. The analysis

In the analysis which follows, I concentrate on the basic verb and noun LOVE in a manner similar to Tissari 2000 (127, 136--139). I also planned to have a look at adjectives and adverbs, but their analysis did not yield any fruitful results, because almost no love metaphors could be found near them. The metaphors are especially typical of the noun LOVE, while the verb is much more seldom accompanied by them. This seems natural, considering the fact that when one uses the verb LOVE the interpretation of the process is more dynamic, while the noun LOVE tends to become an object or substance which, being under discussion, can be given various projections. The terms "object" and "substance" together cover approximately the same area as ENTITY, which is considered a basic-level source category by Lakoff (1987: 406). By using two terms for one I want to point out that this entity may appear to be either physical or chemical, and it may or may not appear to be delineated.

The following examples briefly illustrate what the data looks Like. Example (1) comes from CEECS and provides the metaphor LOVE IS FIRE. The lexemes FIRE and TO QUENCH are in italics in order to emphasise the metaphor focus:

(1) Trewe it ys love oones parfttide, pough Per hap sum dangerous spache or countenaunce, yet ys not pe hole ffyr of love quenchyd ... (1472? Thomas Mull [TMULL] I, 126) (4)

Example (2) represents the metaphor LOVE IS A NATURAL FORCE (or, FLUID IN A CONTAINER) and comes from FROWN:

(2) ... this new love, that she'd never before experienced, had risen in her so strongly that it swept all else away. (L L15: 4) (5)

These metaphor foci appear in the same sentence with the the word LOVE, and it is such metaphor foci that the present analysis concentrates on. (6) Finding all metaphor foci connected with the concept of love would require a rather close reading of texts instead of computerised searches. (7)

The concrete method of the present study has been to read through all the cotexts where the word LOVE appears, to pick out the instances where the word seems to be understood metaphorically, to identify the source domains ("vehicles") of the metaphors, to label the metaphors found, such as LOVE IS FIRE, and to group them under the headings "Space", "Time" and "Sensory domains". Secondary subgroupings emerged in the process, so that the metaphors of space are treated in the four subsections of "Containment", "Amount", "Exchange" and "Other metaphors of space". The definition of metaphor is kept very simple in order to create cohesion in the analysis and to keep the focus on the basic cognitive domains. Therefore, every instance where a source domain, "Space", "Time", or "Sensory domains" could be seen to describe the target domain LOVE was included in the study as a metaphor token, without recourse to a separate definition of metonymy, or of metaphorical blending. Simultaneously, the original labels of the met aphors, such as LOVE IS FIRE, lost their primary importance. (8) Similarly, the subgroupings under "Space" could be explained by naming appropriate frames for them, but this is postponed to another occasion. Furthermore, I do not by any means want to suggest that the boundaries between the subgroupings of "Space" or even those between "Space" and the other source domains, are clear-cut. Rather, I must simplify matters in order to write a concise overview.

4. The analysis

4.1. Space

Space seems to be the most typical source domain for the metaphors, probably because love is basically seen as some kind of ENTITY in space, either as a solid object or some other substance, such as a liquid (cf. section 3). This ENTITY can contain other ENTITIES or be contained by them; it can be measured; and it can be exchanged. Thus emerge the subgroupings "Containment", "Amount (quantity)", and "Exchange".

The most familiar example of containment is the "be-in-love" case:

(3) Tell him his hostesse, a widow by the way, at Chichester, is in love with the impresse and motto of his ring. (CEECS: 1624 Mountague, Richard [RMOUNTAGU] 94)

While amount takes up space, exchange is a movement in space; but we can also easily see overlaps between the categories. Both amount and exchange link to the metaphor LOVE IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY. When a commodity is exchanged, it is assessed and given a value. What is assessed is often the size or amount of the commodity.

4.1.1. Containment

Table 2 shows what kind of metaphor foci represent containment metaphors in the data. (An asterisk means that the data contains several instances of a kind.) Although it seems to be the container in the majority of cases, LOVE also appears as the contained ENTITY The data indicates that containment metaphors may be slightly more common in Present-Day than Early Modern English.

The data also suggests that Present-Day English may more often use concrete sources for metaphors than Early Modern English does. In the 1990s data LOVE is compared to nest, vacuum, closet and boat, (9) while the Early Modern English data only provides fountain , which suggests that LOVE IS WATER (FLUID). This metaphor seems to be shared by both periods. Furthermore, in the Early Modern data weight seems to fall on the amount or excess of the container substance - the more the better - while the Present-Day English data psychologises LOVE to emotional experiences which are given either a positive (light, spacious) or a negative (closet) value. The basic prepositional expressions in, out of, be in and fall in remain the same throughout the period studied.

The following are examples of the metaphors of containment in the Early Modern data:

(4) ... [y.sup.r] to rashe censure of my forgettfullness ... proceeds from [y.sup.r] infinite love ... (HC: Knyvett [KNYVETT] 55)

(5) My brother Riche remembers you lovingly, who hath ben heear theise two dayes oute of his love and upon a business ... (HC: Barrington [TBARRING] 116) (10)

(6) ... when a man dwells in love, then the Breasts of his Wife are pleasant as the droppings upon the hill of Hermon ... (HC: Taylor, The Marriage Ring [JETAYLOR]

(7) ... this shall learne me heerafter not to be so foulish as to sende anie sutche message as shall beare anie comment but my owen, which shall be as full of love and respect as a dewtifull sone can owe to so loving a Father ... (CEECS: 1613 [CHARLES1] 102)

(8) ... his affectionate indevours, wch will be ever sucth as shall still gane from you more open loufe. (CEECS: 1614 Thomas Meautys 1 [T1MEAUTYS] 31)

The two previous examples show a blend of metaphors of containment (full of, open) and those of exchange (owe, gain). It is not at all rare for metaphors to blend in the data. Example (8) blends containment and amount:

(9) ... that place I am so much in love with ... (CEECS: 1617 Lucy Russel [LRUSSEL] 47)

It is especially typical of the be in love-construction to be preceded by an adverbial of quantity or quality which may suggest another metaphor. The Present-Day English data provides the variants hopelessly in love, desperately in love, very much in love and madly in love. Example (10), still from the Early Modern period, shows how the containment metaphor links three related target domains, i.e. "great excesses", "love of pleasure" and "extravagant mirth":

(10) ... his natural temper ... carried him to great excesses: a violent love of Pleasure, and a disposition to extravagant mirth. (HC: Burnet, Some Passages from the Life and Death of the Right Honourable John, Earl of Rochester [BURNETROC] 13)

The following Present-Day English metaphor is motivated through a blend of associations: the metaphor LOVE IS A CONTAINER, money, vending machines and God:

(11) The doxology is geared to an eschatological hope, with a high, extravagant affirmation of God, who, when inserted into the either-or of love of money or fighting the good fight, makes a decisive difference. (FROWN: D D06: 27)

The psychologisation of emotions is reflected in:

(12) We closed each other up in a closet of love that nearly smothered us both. (FROWN: P P19: 18)

(13) Terror atomises a society: it destroys all loyalties, all forms of trust and leaves a psychological vacuum which a tyrant fills with love for his person. (FLOB: B B15: 20)

The adjective ubiquitous in (14) suggests an interesting image of LOVE as being everywhere; it is a conglomeration of LOVE as the CONTAINER (as if enclosing the participants) and the contained substance (among (cf. [section]4.1.4); also an emotion in the experiencers):

(14) A love of puffy skirts was almost ubiquitous among them. (FLOB: K K01: 37) (11)

The following parallelism reveals an association with a specific place:

(15) I was in love. I was in heaven. (FLOB: K K19: 24)

4.1.2. Amount

Table 3 tells how amount is expressed in the data. It seems that amount is more important to speakers of Early Modern English than to speakers of Present-Day English because there are more expressions for it in the earlier data and these are more frequent. But it must always be remembered that the word LOVE is more frequent in the Renaissance data, which is likely to distort the picture (cf. section 3).

The source domains for amount often seem rather unspecific (little, less, much, more). Detail is added when the writer wishes to achieve a more expressive or poetic function (a can of minnows). However, many items which could be connected with agriculture and merchandise can be found especially in the Early Modern data (equal (if you add weight etc.), grow, measure, suffice, store, stock, want etc.).

While metaphors of containment are typical of the noun LOVE, amount is strongly connected with the verb TO LOVE:

(16) ... he was quits with all the world, and loved others as little as he thought they loved him. (HG: Burnet, History of my own time [BURNETCHA] 1,I,168)

(17) ... he did rather choose to hurte him he did least know, and so loued least (HG: The Trial of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton [THROCKM] I, 68.C2)

However, it is easier to conceptualise the noun LOVE as an object or substance which is measured:

(18) ... you cannot poscibilly measure my loue. (CEECS: 1628? Harley, Brilliana [BHARLEY] 4)

Winefrid Thimelby, who uses the noun stock to describe love in (19), will also use other metaphors of commerce:

(19) ... my great stock of self love, which naturally inclines to sadnis ... (CEECS: 1670S Thimelby, Winefrid [WTHIMELBY] 48)

(20) I fynd no disbursment of love diminish my stocke. (CEECS: 1670S Thimelby, Winefrid [WTHIMELBY] 81)

(21) My debt so great nothing but love can crosse the score. (CEECS: 1670S Thimelby, Winefrid [WTHIMELBY] 55)

She seems to love using and coining metaphors, which makes her both an ideal and a problematic informant, because the metaphors reflect her idiolect and ideas. Nevertheless, they also tell something about her times.

The verb grow is an interesting one:

(22) ... love and tendrenesse growe daily and encreace ... (CEECS: 1484 Richard III [RICHARD3] I, 62)

(23) ... I am growne to love my ease and liberty so well ... (CEECS: 1617 Russel, Lucy [LRUSSEL] 45)

It simultaneously indicates a development in amount, and conveys a process of becoming mature, ripe (LOVE IS A PLANT), or accustomed to something. It seems to make a difference whether the verb grow is used with a noun or verb. Either one focuses on love itself as the substance that grows (22), or on the experiencer of love who is undergoing a change (23). In the latter case the expression no longer describes love, but rather the experiencer of the emotion. But how could one describe the difference in meaning between (23) and (23b)?

(23b) ... my love to (my) ease and liberty has grown so much ...

Maybe one could claim that when "loving" is expressed by a noun it has often already undergone a "metaphorisation" whereby a process has become an object or substance.

In the Present-Day English data, grow seems to be partly replaced by develop. But usually, metaphors of amount are even more fixed, familiar expressions:

(24) That chunk of chocolate you love so much ... (FROWN: C C09: 5)

(25) I loved my mother very much and she died much too young. (FROWN: K K15: 15)

4.1.3. Exchange

The metaphors of exchange could also come under an even more general heading, metaphors of possession, because it is all about possession and change of possession. (12) A concrete act of exchange is normally preceded by a value assessment. Because the assessment of amount has been treated above, it is omitted from Table 4.

The Early Modern data suggests that it was very important to convince others of the value of one's love and to acknowledge the love of others, while in the much scarcer 1990s data love is re-evaluated and its overvaluation discussed. Love has become something one can choose over something else. (13) This indicates a change towards a more individualistic society where value is no longer a given, universal concept. Love is no longer necessarily like a loaf of bread which one needs to earn every day; it can also be like a commodity on a supermarket shelf which is either taken or rejected.

The data suggests that dearly is used together with the verb TO LOVE on the British Isles in both periods, but that it is hardly used in Present-Day American English at all. The adverb and adjective best seem to be used much like dear/ly. Although dearly is very conventionalised, an example from Early Modem fiction shows that it can be associated with money in a pun:

(26) How, that pleases me well to be getting of Money, for I love it dearly. (HC: Penny Merriments [PENNY] 117)

The metaphor GOOD IS UP is one means of assessment. When one wants to emphasise the value of love one praises it as something which one esteems above any other thing, or one claims to put a high and true value on it.

As for the exchange itself, the Early Modern data bespeaks a greater sense of obligation than the 1990s data. Such words referring to exchange as debt, obligation, inherit, owe and requite convey the idea that love is not necessarily an emotion, but rather a duty. More commercial interests are reflected in words like price, gain and offer. (14) Although the OED quotes Shakespeare using the expression (love) affair, it does not appear in this Early Modern English data. However, it is very popular in the Present-Day English data. Of course several of the expressions like the basic get and have are shared by both periods. The word share is a newcomer.

The metaphors of assessment and exchange are the most productive category of all in the data. The point of view varies. Sometimes the assessed object is the experiencer of love (who can be worthy of love). Similarly, in the exchange schema either love itself or the giver or receiver of love can be more in the focus. The following example focuses on both the giver and receiver:

(27) ... I love you as your owne meritt and the obligacions I owe you justly deserves ... (CEECS: 1624 Russel, Lucy [LRUSSEL] 90)

Example (27) is also representative of two other points: it appears in a letter, and emphasises duty. Example (28) is in the same vein:

(28) ... it is [yo.sup.r] worth, and nott my meritt, that eauer coulde deserve soe mutch loue from you. (CEECS: 1614 Meautys, Thomas 1 [TIMEAUTYS] 39)

Reciprocity is highlighted in passages from Lucy Russel:

(29) ... your selves, whos love I infinitely prise and requite with the best affection of Your most affectionat and faithfull friend, L. Bedford. (CEECS: 1618 Russel, Lucy [LRUSSEL] 59)

(30) For all your kindneses I can but love you ... (CEECS: 1624 Russel, Lucy [LRUSSEL] 122)

Many expressions of exchange are very conventional. Most of them could also be considered metonymical; either in the sense that something else, for example a letter, stands for love; or in the sense that it is part of one's "whole" love that is being talked about (but cf. Seto 1999). However, here I emphasise the aspect that love, an abstract concept, is repeatedly treated as something that can be exchanged like a concrete object:

(31) Send love to Matth. (HC: Henry, Philip [PHENRY] 341)

(32) My love to your daughter and my cozen Perceval, sister Desbrowe, and all friends with you. (CEECS: 1645 Cromwell, Oliver [OCROMWELL] 302)

Assessment is foregrounded in letter formulas where somebody's love is commended to someone else:

(33) ... the Queene commends her love to you ... (CEECS: 1633 Comwallis, Frederick [FCORNWALLIS] 259)

Winefrid Thimelby develops the theme of exchange as follows:

(34) Keat trusts me with her duty and with reason, for sure I am, none wod take more care it should not mischary; therfore receive it who], intire, and sound, for so she gave it me, as lykewyse her love to all her brothers and

sisters. (CEECS: 1670S Thimelby, Winefrid [WTHIMELBY] 49)

(35) [I have] so much perticuler love for every one, as one onely person were sole heir of it. (CEECS: 1680? Thimelby, Winefrid [WTHIMELBY] 244)

Beside love, for example a blessing can be considered a VALUABLE COMMODITY Consequently, a metaphor of exchange can be extended to cover several target domains simultaneously:

(36) ... whether she was robb'd of that blessing which was only due to his faith and love. (HC: Behn, Oroonoko [BEHN] 161)

In the 1990s data, the metaphors of exchange often appear in novels and in psychological texts. An example of the latter is:

(37) Freud, by contrast, held that sexual love affords human beings the central experience of happiness ... (FROWN: D D05: 19)

There, LOVE IS MONEY. However, direct associations with money are not as common as examples like the following, where the quality of the COMMODITY is not exactly defined:

(38) He did not appreciate his son's love of literature. (FLOB: G G05:3; assessment)

(39) At first he seemed to be offering all the love and protection Sylvia needed. (FLOB: G G28:13; exchange)

Of course, monetary interests may combine with or precede amatory ones:

(40) ... if I were to keep her love and respect and my access to her piggy bank (FROWN: P P20: 40)

Yet it is clear that love as an emotion cannot eventually be handled like money. In a story of incest, love becomes a DISEASE. Even if the sister agrees to "exchange" sex with her brother, she cannot give him the emotion he would like to have:

(41) He suffered from an unrequited love of me. (FLOB: K K08: 53)

4.1.4. Other metaphors of space

Here I want to present a couple of more general topics. The Early Modem English data contains several expressions which suggest that love is understood in terms of distance. There is love between or among people, people are near one another in love, and something can be far from love. We see that love can cover a distance, bring people close to each other and stand at a distance to something else. The 1990s data also discusses the thin line between love and hate. Most of these metaphors can be understood in terms of the metaphor LOVE IS A UNITY. Furthermore, in the 1990s data, love is a link, uniting people. In (42), love is a spiritual experience:

(42) Religion is one with love. (FLOB: D D09: 7)

In the Present-Day English data, new geometrical dimensions come into the picture. If there is only one participant in romantic love, the love is one-sided; if three instead of two, people speak about a love-triangle. The expression through love, is somewhat problematic. It can be considered an instance of LOVE IS A CONTAINER if we can convince ourselves that the meaning of through is connected with sensual perception. To my mind it works if we consider to go through something, or to see something through something. Even if love seems to "twist and turn" more in the 1990s data (arrive, extend, transcend, at its height, tip the scale a little too far), we might find more "twisting and turning" also in earlier data if we looked more closely on, for example, Shakespeare's language.

While the other Early Modern elements appear rare, between is common:

(43) ... the perfecte love and aliaunce betwixt you both ... (CEECS: 1519 Boleyn, Thomas [TBOLEYN] 149)

(44) ... except there were better love betwene them than ther ys. (CEECS: 1586 Dudley, Robert [RDUDLEY] 70)

However, love can also be seen as a point which is located at a distance from another point:

(45) Vsurie is farre from loue (HC: Smith, Two Sermons on "Of Usurie" [SMITH] B4R)

(46) The Marital Love is infinitely removed from all possibility of such rudenesses ... (HC: Taylor, The Marriage Ring [JETAYLOR] 26)

In (47), love is a CONTAINER:

(47) ... that as nature hath made us neerest in our love together, so accident might not separate us from living together. (CEECS: 1 600S Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia [BELIZABETH] 90)

A further issue which I want to take up here is the location of love in the body. The typical place in the Early Modem English data seems to be the heart, but another place, the soul, is also suggested:

(48) And thus, good Lady, with more trew love in hart then I can expresse in words, I leave you to the blessed direction of Almighty God ... (CEECS: 1614 Bacon, Anne 2 [A2BACON] 19)

(49) I loue you with all my soule (CEECS: 1678 Gwynne, Nell [NGWYNNE] 25)

Heart as seat of love also appears in the Present-Day English data:

(50) Deep in her heart she knew she loved Max. (FLOB: P P12: 64)

Some metaphors suggest a spatial conceptualisation which is not simply typical of love but more general. To add an edge is probably fairly fixed:

(51) It was a way of flattering each other, of adding an edge to our love-making. (FLOB: N N11: 42)

The metaphor - FLAT IS DULL, EDGE IS INTEREST - can be applied to love-making, but to other things as well, maybe also to the (taste of) chicken soup.

4.2. Time

"Time in English is conceptualized in terms of space", writes Lakoff (1990: 55) and continues: "[t]ime is understood in terms of things (i.e., entities and locations) and motion." He explains (Lakoff 1990: 57):

In our visual systems, we have detectors for motion and detectors for objects/locations. We do not have detectors for time (whatever that could mean). Thus, it makes good biological sense that time should be understood in terms of things and motion. Does it follow that time is never understood in its own terms, with some structure independent of metaphor? The answer is no. We have no evidence one way or another.

In the Early Modem English data, LOVE is spoken of as endless. In terms of verbs, it can cease, and *continue. Human agents can *keep, *maintain, and preserve it. In the Present-Day English data LOVE is described by the adjectives never ending and overdue. Human beings intercept it. It can be out of season. The compound *love-life is fairly popular, and the structure year of love appears once.

Following Lakoff, these expressions should probably be considered under space. For example, if LOVE IS AN endless JOURNEY it covers a certain route and lasts eternally, but eternity can be considered an endless stretch in space. However, although time and space can be identified at a very abstract level, making a distinction gives us more information. If LOVE IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY which is kept, maintained and preserved, this happens in space, and over time.

The compound love-life illustrates that these issues are rather complex in further ways. This expression can suggest that LOVE IS A LIFE or that LOVE HAS A LIFE. LOVE IS A LIFE verges on the anomalous; a metonymic connection between love as part of life is more likely. LOVE HAS A LIFE, on the other hand, seems consistent with the fact that in the data love is personified and that it can be born and die. In a sense we do have a biological "detector of time" in our own bodies because we go to sleep and wake, grow old and die. (15)

However, in the data the compound love-i life appears together with, for example, the adjective steamy. People's life could be steamy if they frequently visited saunas, but if somebody's love-life is steamy we are dealing with another kind of association. Is it a metaphor like SEX IS STEAM? Or is it a metonymic relationship? Maybe we need to see metonymy as a supercategory to any such metaphor. But this shows how complicated a single cotext can be when metaphor and metonymy overlap with each other, and the noun LOVE itself is used as a euphemism for sex.

4.3. Sensory domains

This section discusses elements which connect LOVE with a certain sensory organ. Let us begin with the general idea of sensing. In the Early Modern English data, one can be apprehensive of LOVE. Discovery together with *to find and *to seek suggest that people can use their senses to detect love, as if love were some kind of object which can be heard, seen or felt. *To manifest and *manifestation actually provide a link with the domain of action which can indeed be audible, visible and tactile. In the Present-Day English data people search, *discover and *find love, and love is openly displayed. Note also the spatial metahor open(ly), which implies that the BODY IS A CONTAINER which may either be closed so that emotions stay undetected, or opened so that they are revealed (cf. [section]4.1.1). The verb to reveal indeed appears in the Present-Day English data together with LOVE. Love can also be obvious, or a secret. Furthermore, in data from both the periods people *show their love to others.

In the Early Modern data love can be violent and people can awaken it. These expressions point to a personification of love. I mention them here because violence is tactile and one can hardly awaken anybody without a sound or touch.

As for the sense of sight, personified love is blind in data from both periods. One can also *see love, which is natural if love is manifested in loving behaviour. In the Present-Day English data love is also called light and spacious, both qualities which are likely to be primarily detected by sight, unless light is to be understood as the antonym of heavy. (16) Hearing has almost no role at all, unless we consider the Early Modern personification where love is asked to speak for a fiend.

Taste appears in the adjective sweet and the corresponding adverb sweetly in the Early Modem data, where even the verb sweeten is used of love as :FOOD. Furthermore, God's children taste His love. Although the metaphor LOVE IS FOOD continues to appear in the Present-Day English data, the association with a sweet taste is no longer there. However, we all know that a beloved person can be called sweet.

What remains are the references to experiences of touch or inner warmth. LOVE IS HEAT is indeed the key metaphor here. Mostly, love receives a positive value on the warmth scale. It can be ardent, *hot and *warm, and one can love fervently, feverishly or fiercely. The Early Modem data discusses the heat of somebody's love, while in the 1990s data love is a fever. The only exception on the warmth scale is the Early Modem to wax cold. These expressions can be traced back to physiological reactions, but also to the theory of the four humours (Geeraerts - Grondelaers 1995). Moreover, we should remember that the image of a melancholic, suffering lover, which was very popular in the Renaissance, is likely to remain in the consciousness even of Present-Day English speakers.

There are still some more expressions bordering on the tactile in the 1990s data, where love can be powerful and tough. These expressions could also mark a personification of LOVE.

5. Conclusion

The analysis reveals both stability and change in the metaphors of love. There is stability at the general level: (1) People keep fetching their metaphors from the spatial, temporal and sensory domains; and (2) the subcategories of "containment", "amount" and "exchange" stand out in data from both periods. The first result is in accordance with the cognitive commitment (b), which predicts that this is how things should be, if space, time and sensory perception really are "irreducible realms of conceptual potential" (Langacker 1999: 171). Consequently, these most basic categories should be taken into consideration in studying the cognitive metaphors of any concept. Thus we can arrive at a statement which is in line with the generalisation commitment (a) (cf. section 1). The question remains, whether all concepts are primarily understood in terms of space as love seems to be. Another possibility is that some concepts are primarily conceptualised in terms of the other basic cognitive domains, one or both. A thir d possibility is that the present theoretical and methodological framework favours spatial conceptualisation, and does not allow us to see the real extent to which the domains of "Time" and "Sensory perception" influence metaphorical language.

But what about the subcategories of "containment", "amount" and "exchange" which remain the same in all the data? Kovecses (1990: 144-159) has already suggested that the containment metaphor is central to all emotions, but we know that it is by no means restricted to emotions (Lakoff - Johnson 1980: 29-32). What we probably do not know yet is how general these subcategories actually are, although they are clearly applicable to many more concepts than love. If we compare love with other emotions, perhaps "exchange" would be the most "love-specific" subcategory of the three, especially because it involves the assessment of "amount".

This seems to underline the importance of "exchange" in describing the concept of love. In order to return to a more traditional way of expressing a cognitive metaphor, one can say that the metaphor LOVE IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY IN AN ECONOMIC EXCHANGE is probably at least as central to conceptualising love as LOVE IS A UNITY or LOVE IS A CONTAINER. But while this is a very general statement, it would be possible to look at this metaphor in much more detail and see how the metaphorical expressions describe the exchange.

One can discover, for example, expressions that link with agriculture, and notice that they are less evident in the Present-Day English data than in the Early Modem data. But although I have boldly hinted at such matters in this article, much remains to be done in that respect. To begin with, one should be able to name the different levels at which subgroupings like "Amount" and "Agriculture" operate, and to define their exact relationship to the general metaphor LOVE IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY.

To sum up, the corpus method greatly facilitates semantic generalisation, but takes us only so far with respect to details, unless one can use a huge corpus. What emerges from the discussion of the sensory domains, however, is that more attention should be paid to roles of metonymy and personification. These seem to partly overlap not only with each other, but also with metaphor (cf. also [section]4.1.3). However, a discussion of metonymy in the data would require a slightly different approach. Tissari (forthcoming) will discuss personification in more detail.
Table 1

LOVE in the corpora


HCE 498 9.0
CEECS 792 17.6
Total 1302 13.0
FROWN 528 5.3
FLOB 478 4.8
Total 1006 5.0
All together 2296 7.7
Table 2

Metaphors of containment

Construction Early Modern English

Adjectives open

Nouns depth, fountain, overflowing
Prepositions *in, *to
Prepositional phrases full of, *out of
Verbs (simple) -
Verb+preposition *be in, dwell in, *fall
 in, *proceed from
Other constructions to break the bounds, to
 have no bounds

Construction Present-Day English

Adjectives *deep, filled (with),
 spacious, ubiquitous
Nouns nest, vacuum
Prepositions *in, from
Prepositional phrases out of
Verbs (simple) fill, surround
Verb+preposition *be in, *fall in,
 insert into
Other constructions bathed in, be in the eyes
 of the beholder, be part
 of, be submerged, closet
 of love, Love Boat
Table 3

Metaphors of amount

Construction Early Modern English Present-Day English

Adjectives endless, *entire abundant, equal, rich
 equal, exceeding, (in)
 *great, *little
Adverbs all, enough, entirely, excessively, little,
 every iota/jot, least, more, most,
 *(no) less, *(how[ever]/so/too/
 *little, much, none very) much
Prepositions - -
Nouns *abundance, -
 diminishing, *want
Verbs (simple) *adbate (tr & intr) amass, *grow
 *diminish, grow,
 *increase measure
 (tr), suffice
Verb+preposition - -
Other constructions all my store, all the a huge amount of
 treasure (of his love), love/ amount to a can
 out of measure, of minnows/shrink to
 *(great) stock a stack of
 pale-colored, just
 laundred shirts
Prepositional phrases - -
Table 4

Metaphors of value assessment

Construction Early Modern English Present-Day English

Adjectives *best, *dear(est), equal, *worthy (of)
 endeared, *worthy
Adverbs dearly *best, dearly (BrE)
Prepositions - -
Prepositional phrases - -
Verbs (simple) acknowledge, *deserve, appreciate, choose
 despise, *commend, (over), deserve, equal,
 equal, price, re-evaluate
 recommend, *reward,
 *thank (for)
Verb+preposition -
Other constructions esteem above any other -
 thing, to make return,
 to put a high and true
Nouns gift, *merit, *worth overvaluation, variety
Table 5

Metaphors of exchange

Construction Early Modern English

Adjectives due, indebted to (sb for sth),
Adverbs -
Prepositions *for, *to, *with, without
Prepositional -
Nouns *debt, disbursment, obligation,
Verbs (simple) beg, bestow, deal out, divide,
 gain, get, give, *have, inherit,
 keep, lose, offer, *owe, partake,
 *present, *receive, refrain,
 remit, *requite, restore, retain,
 return, rob, send, tender,
 *thank (for), vouchsafe, yield
Verb+preposition -
Other to cross the score, *to make (sure)
constructions account of, requital to a hair's
 bredth, sole heir

Construction Present-Day English

Adjectives free, *unrequited

Adverbs -
Prepositions *with
Prepositional -
Nouns *love affair, gift, payment,
 possession, wage
Verbs (simple) achieve, afford, attain, *give,
 *have, keep, need, offer,
 restore, return, send, *share

Verb+preposition -
Other to bestow freely
Table 6

Other metaphors of space

Construction Early Modern Present-Day English
Adjectives - one-sided
Adverbs *between, -
 among, near
Prepositions - *through
Prepositional phrases - -
Nouns - link, love-triangle, *unity
Verbs (simple) - arrive, extend, transcend
Verb+preposition - -
Other constructions be far adding an edge to our
 from/removed love-making, at its height, be
 from, make sb one with, be united, give way,
 nearest such a thin line between them,
 together tip the scale a little too far

(1.) Lakoff and Johnson (1999: 3) employ as their starting point what they call the "three major findings of cognitive science": "The mind is inherently embodied. Thought is mostly unconscious. Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical."

(2.) Note also Kovecses (2000).

(3.) The result is similar to what I present in another article, where I show that Shakespeare's prose contains far more LOVE lexemes than BROWN and LOB, while HC is in the middle between them (Tissari 2000: 137). However, the CEECS letter writers use LOVE about one third less than Shakespeare (N/10,000=28). It is also interesting to notice that while in my previous article LOVE seems to be more frequent in British English than in American English, the Freiburg corpora suggest the contrary.

(4.) The information in brackets is that the letter was originally written by Thomas Mull, probably in 1472. The name is followed by the writer code and the page or folio number in the edition it was copied from (cf. Nurmi 1998, 1999). The information on quotations from HG is similar to CEECS, but the year of the original is not given, Instead, I will give the titles of any books the quotations may come from.

(5.) The code L suggests that the extract comes from Mystery and Detective Fiction, while L15 narrows the choice down to Phyllis Whitney's The Ebony Swan (cf. Hundt - Sand - Skandera 1999).

(6.) "Sentence" is not a very strict definition of the length of relevant context. It is an approximation which I arrived at while writing this article.

(7.) It might be possible to devise a computer program which would deal with a large number of possible metaphor foci. For example, the occurrence of adjectives like healthy or strong together with the noun marriage would suggest the metaphor LOVE IS A PATIENT. Nevertheless, as long as such a program would be based on our "armchair" intuitions about what the metaphor foci are like, we could not be sure that we are not ignoring some of them.

While a lot of metaphor detection seems to be intuitive, to program it we should be able to define love rather carefully. In the case of romantic love, it could be reasonable to employ Kovecses's (1986: 93--105, 1988: 56--70) models, which organise events, states and properties associated with the process of falling in love. His scripts would provide a fairly solid basis to build on. However, if we want to understand love more generally, the task is complicated to a considerable extent. Furthermore, many sentences such as "They have a strong, healthy marriage" can probably be understood in several ways. Not only PATIENTS can be strong or healthy, but also FORCES, BUILDINGS, PLANTS, ORGANISMS, FOOD etc. (cf. Lakoff -- Johnson 1980: 46--51).

(8.) Tissari (forthcoming) treats these in more detail.

(9.) I am fully aware of the fact that Love Boat refers to a concrete vessel in a TV series and that the association of 'love' with the 'boat' is primarily metonymic. However, I suggest that there may well exist as if a two-way traffic between the container metaphor and such metonymy, where both "feed" and "feed on" each other.

(10.) The expression out of love can also refer to the end of love, as in Shakespeare (Tissari 1999: 185).

(11.) "Another analyst might argue that among is the cue for the container metaphor here, and that they (rather than love) are conceptualised as the container." I thank an anonymous reviewer for this legitimate comment. Several points of view could certainly be taken even with respect to other examples. However, that would shift the focus from the word LOVE to other expressions. While such a decision could be justified in terms of cognitive linguistics, it would ruin the cohesion of the argument.

(12.) See, e.g., Koch (1999).

(13.) In the particular case the love that is chosen is something traditionally regarded as morally suspect: love of money [FROWN D D06: 29].

(14.) Low (1993: 132-157), who discusses Renaissance love poetry, describes the entrance of opportunistic and businesslike behavior in love in his chapter on Crashaw, connecting the poet's ideas *****anges in society. As for Shakespeare, see, e.g., Huhtikangas's (1999) discussion of the term ****Hamlet.

(15.) Note also the metaphor biological clock.

(16.) If one wishes to emphasise the free nature of a good relationship, it can be an advantage if the two associations of light 'not heavy' and light 'filled with sunshine' are called forth simultaneously.


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forthcoming "'All this love and matter of love': On the cognitive metaphors of LOVE in Early Modem and Present-Day English."

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Author:Tissari, Heli
Publication:Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: international review of English Studies
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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