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Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 5th, 2017, 1:04 pm
by Matthew Longhorn
A quick resource question / sanity check

I have been more and more struck by how many of the meanings of words in Greek have metaphorical extensions that match our own in English. I can’t think of a very good example of a Greek word right now, but it would be something like a word with spatial meaning such as approach, also being used for non-spatial goal orientated events. προσευχμαι might be rough example of what I am thinking

I guess what is striking to me (unless this is confirmation bias because I am now looking for it) is that the similarities in extensions may indicate a commanlity in the way we process information and concepts across cultures?
1. Am I just imagining this or is it a real thing?
2. Any thoughts on where I could look for info on this?

I am not sure of the correct terminology to describe what I am thinking so this post may be oddly worded.

Re: Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 5th, 2017, 1:50 pm
by Barry Hofstetter
One line of thought to consider is that English and ancient Greek are both descendants of PIE (which is interesting no matter how you slice it).

Re: Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 5th, 2017, 2:07 pm
by MAubrey
Matthew Longhorn wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 1:04 pm
1. Am I just imagining this or is it a real thing?
Matthew Longhorn wrote:
December 5th, 2017, 1:04 pm
2. Any thoughts on where I could look for info on this?
You could start here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embodied_cognition
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_metaphor
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_linguistics

And the bibliographies are good if you want to go further.

Re: Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 5th, 2017, 2:14 pm
by Matthew Longhorn
Thanks Mike, speedy and helpful as ever!
That will give me some bedtime reading for tonight

Re: Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 5th, 2017, 4:27 pm
by MAubrey
Sure thing!

Suffice to say, you're not imagining anything!

;)

Re: Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 6th, 2017, 10:00 am
by Matthew Longhorn
Some of the information in those links seems vaguely familiar to me so I must have read something about it in the past and forgotten it all until noticing this. At some point in my life I may find time to read everything I want towns get to some of the resources suggested from the Wikipedia pages.

As a follow up, do you think that this may therefore give a means of improving vocab retention? Where possible reinforcing the spatial concept in your mind and then consciously referring other meanings where valid, back to those spatial meanings. In many instances I assume that the spatial will be one of the first things in the lexicon but not always.
I guess the danger in that would be committing carson’s illegitimate totality transference

Re: Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 6th, 2017, 11:12 am
by Jonathan Robie
Of course, sometimes the spatial metaphor runs in another direction.

I "eat up" my food in English. In Greek, it's κατεσθίω or καταφάγω. I'd like to have a list of words that diverge this way.

Re: Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 6th, 2017, 11:28 am
by Matthew Longhorn
True, but the spatial still holds the same meaning in both instances - completely devouring. The fact that one uses the word up and the other down still leads to the same conceptual outcome even if the idiom is a bit different in English?

Re: Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 6th, 2017, 12:43 pm
by Jonathan Robie
Matthew Longhorn wrote:
December 6th, 2017, 11:28 am
True, but the spatial still holds the same meaning in both instances - completely devouring. The fact that one uses the word up and the other down still leads to the same conceptual outcome even if the idiom is a bit different in English?
I'm not sure. I think I understand the spatial metaphor for "eating down", because we swallow and the food goes down. I'm not sure how that relates to "completely".

There must be some reason for the spatial metaphor "eating up", but I have no idea what it is. When I eat, no matter how completely I devour my food, it seems to go down.

Re: Metaphorical extensions of spatial concepts

Posted: December 6th, 2017, 12:47 pm
by Matthew Longhorn
Fair point on the completely, I overstated there. However, eating up could refer to the act of bringing the food up to your mouth? At this point just shooting in the dark so had better not go any further