A Corpus-Based Analysis of Metaphorical Uses of the High Frequency Noun Time: Challenges to Conceptual Metaphor Theory

  • Shuangling LiEmail author
Part of the Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics book series (YCLP, volume 2)


This chapter attempts to contribute to the ongoing debate over Conceptual Metaphor Theory by investigating its empirical validity in language use with a corpus-based approach. Using the Bank of English (BoE), this study analyses the frequently-occurring linguistic expressions of time that are associated with two conceptual metaphors of time (TIME IS MONEY and TIME IS MOTION). The results firstly show that the Lakoffian approach of intuitive metaphor analysis raises questions, as their studies (Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors we live by. University of Chicago, Chicago, 1980a, J Philos 77(8):453–486, 1980b) fail to mention many frequently-occurring linguistic metaphors of time and some of the linguistic examples they gave occur rarely in the BoE. Secondly, the corpus-based analysis reveals more dynamic or complicated linguistic features (e.g. collocational behaviour of certain lexical items and phraseological uses of some linguistic expressions) that cannot be entirely explained or have not been accounted for by the conceptual mapping of Conceptual Metaphor Theory.


Corpus-based Metaphorical uses of time Conceptual metaphor theory Phraseological behaviour 



The author is greatly indebted to Dr. Crayton Walker for his guidance and the two anonymous referees for their comments. Needless to say, the author is responsible for any remaining errors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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