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Arabic death discourse in translation: Euphemism and metaphorical conceptualization in Jordanian obituaries



Some events are too distasteful and coarse to be approached without lin-guistic 'gymnastics' or 'maneuvering'. One of these is undoubtedly death, a timeless taboo in which psychological, religious, and social interdictions coexist. This paper investigates the conceptualization and translation of the euphemistic metaphorical encoding operative in Arabic death discourse, particularly in a selected corpus consisting of 450 obituaries, drawn from three respectable Jordanian newspapers, where the sentimentalization of death, deriv-ing from orthodox Muslim beliefs, provided a fertile soil for the burgeoning of metaphorical fatalism-laden euphemism. Given the pervasiveness of metaphor to refer to human mortal-ity, the present study utilizes the influential "Conceptual Metaphor Theory" advanced by Lakoff and Johnson (1980) to account for the different conceptual metaphors, and their relevant linguistic instantiations which substituted the notions of death and dying. The analysis also reveals that the translation hurdles encountered essentially originate from the fact that Arabic and English offer conflicting prototypical models of agency, thereby land-ing the translator with the laborious task of negotiating the meaning between two contrast-ing cultural models, which has been found to strip the source language text from its dyna-mism, and, consequently, to procure irredressable translation loss, however satisfactory the translation equivalents may be.
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1), pp. 19–48 (2011)
DOI: 10.1556/Acr.12.2011.1.2
1585-1923/$ 20.00 © 2011 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest
Dept. of European Languages and Translation
King Saud University, Riyadh 11322
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, P.O. Box 240861
Phone 00966-5-66989324
Abstract: Some events are too distasteful and coarse to be approached without lin-
guistic ‘gymnastics’ or ‘maneuvering’. One of these is undoubtedly death, a timeless taboo
in which psychological, religious, and social interdictions coexist. This paper investigates
the conceptualization and translation of the euphemistic metaphorical encoding operative in
Arabic death discourse, particularly in a selected corpus consisting of 450 obituaries, drawn
from three respectable Jordanian newspapers, where the sentimentalization of death, deriv-
ing from orthodox Muslim beliefs, provided a fertile soil for the burgeoning of metaphorical
fatalism-laden euphemism. Given the pervasiveness of metaphor to refer to human mortal-
ity, the present study utilizes the influential “Conceptual Metaphor Theory” advanced by
Lakoff and Johnson (1980) to account for the different conceptual metaphors, and their
relevant linguistic instantiations which substituted the notions of death and dying. The
analysis also reveals that the translation hurdles encountered essentially originate from the
fact that Arabic and English offer conflicting prototypical models of agency, thereby land-
ing the translator with the laborious task of negotiating the meaning between two contrast-
ing cultural models, which has been found to strip the source language text from its dyna-
mism, and, consequently, to procure irredressable translation loss, however satisfactory the
translation equivalents may be.
Keywords: Arabic (Jordanian) death discourse, euphemism, metaphorical conceptu-
alization, cognitive mapping, Arab fatalism and agency, translation loss
Cross-cultural studies have spent considerable effort exploring how encoding
and decoding messages can vary quite considerably from one language to an-
other. Such lingua-cultural differences are more likely to be self-evident in deli-
cate matters, some of which may well embody harsh or distasteful experiences
or realities. The failure of humanity to come to terms with death has been
prevalent in different times and societies. In attempting to make the crushing
truth less true, many euphemisms signifying death and dying emerged as mani-
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
festations of our denial of it (Slovenko 2006:540); whereas, direct reference to
death viz-a-viz the stalest soporific terms available (i.e. death and dying) does
seem to appear as ‘malignant’ linguistic code that warrants ‘gobsmacking’ and
mesmerizing communicators, irrespective of the cultures they belong to.
Whether propelled by the linguistic impetus for palliating indecency and indeli-
cacy, by the social drive to uphold decorum, by fatalism, “a doctrine that events
are fixed in advance for all time in such a manner that human beings are power-
less to change them” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary 1986:451),
by determinism “a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature,
or social or psychological phenomena are casually determined by preceding
events or natural laws’ (ibid:346), by superstition, by abhorrence, or by fear (see
also Ullmann 1966:245), the fact remains that when facing death, communica-
tors try to mitigate the impact of what they wish to convey.
Indeed, the very existence of sharp straightforward words that may inspire
fear of supernatural forces such as death will automatically trigger a quest for
euphemism, i.e. alternatives that do not arouse abomination, revulsion or dread.
Yet, the mystifying power of language is ubiquitous (cf. also Berger and Luck-
mann 1966:16). These alternatives can be referred to as euphemisms. Gladney
and Rittenburg (2005:28) consider euphemisms as substitute expressions for
“blunt precision or disagreeable truth” (cf. also Kany 1960:v; Wilkes 1979:
123). Thus, euphemisms may minimize threat to the addressee’s face as well as
spare communicators’ disquiet (cf. Matthew and Batchelor 2003). Therefore,
taboos are normally veiled by a tendency towards indirect reference, which
fashions a linguistic coating and involves the proliferation of euphemisms. Such
a linguistic coating can be seen as a form of wrapping, which shows considera-
tion for the other in the same way as when gifts are presented elaborately
wrapped (Hendry 1993:64). However, when a euphemism is used to mislead or
deceive, it becomes doublespeak (cf. McGlone et al., 2006:263; Brown and
Levinson 1987; Gladney and Rittenburg 2005:29–30). In death discourse, there
is no intention to mislead, and so this does not constitute a case of doublespeak
within the context of the present discussion.
Thus, euphemism is a lexical device whereby a taboo is robbed of its most
explicit, unpleasant, offensive, or obscene nuances. Linguists have traditionally
characterized euphemism as a lexical substitution strategy for topics that evoke
negative affect. This strategy may serve the ostensibly noble motive of sparing
an addressee communicative discomfort (Allan and Burridge 1991; Liszka
1990). It is obvious that it is often difficult to talk about a sensitive issue with-
out employing emotionally loaded words. Obituary writers, desiring to uphold
their commitment to the facts of the subject of the obituary, oscillate between
factual writing and emotive partisan views. The most prominent aspect will de-
pend on the degree of inclination the writer shows to his subject (Hatim and
Mason 1990:148). Accordingly, euphemism is not only a politeness strategy
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
through which communicators can avoid loss of face; rather, it is a tactful way
to speak about taboos, about the unspeakable, about painful experiences, about
those matters banned from public sphere and ‘lingering’ deep in our subcon-
scious. This reluctance to speak openly about human mortality is, as Sexton
(1997:335) indicates, characteristic of the overall discomfort associated with the
subject of death as a whole (cf. also Stein 1998:4; Hilmer; and Donaldson
1996:7; Christie 1992; Allan and Burridge 1991).
Despite the fact that human beings have the predilection to employ elusive
and slippery appellations to refer to the subject of death and dying, there are
compelling pragmatic-communicative situations where communicators have no
choice in evading the notions of death and dying. One of these cases is obituar-
ies; those newspaper announcements devoted to the exposition of death, as an
unfolding story in our daily undertakings. Taking into account the pressing need
to record death, the seriousness of the situation and the formality which the so-
cial context imposes on obituaries, as an all-pervasive phenomenon in Arabic, it
is not surprising that obituaries are a rich soil for metaphorical-euphemistic lan-
guage germane to the death taboo.
Given the pervasiveness of metaphor in euphemisms, i.e., the fact that
metaphorization can be considered a potent source for euphemistic reference
(Warren 1992:146–149) and a remarkable device to cope with death (Goatly
1997:159; Sexton 1997), it is our purpose in this paper to investigate, in a sam-
ple of Arabic Jordanian obituaries, the translation problems stemming from
conceptual metaphors in euphemistic use, i.e., we seek to investigate the transla-
tion problems resulting from the euphemistic figurative language used to desig-
nate the taboo of death in the framework of the renowned “Conceptual Meta-
phor Theory” advanced by Lakoff and Johnson (1980). We also examine how a
certain conceptualization accounts for the interpretation of death-related
euphemistic metaphors. The investigation undertaken shows that metaphorical
expressions or structures referring to the death taboo can be insightfully de-
scribed in terms of Lakoff and Johnson’s cognitive view of metaphor, and
should also provide us with an insight into the way experience is conceptualized
and euphemized in Arabic.
This seems to be an extraordinary line of research, because, while there is
an extensive scholarly work on the cognitive aspects of metaphor and other fig-
ures of speech, not to mention the relatively recent studies touching on the
metaphorical conceptualization of human mortality (e.g., Marin Arrese 1996;
Sexton 1996; Bultnick 1998), not much scholarly ink has been spilled over con-
ceptual metaphors, and their relevant linguistic instantiations, as a purely
euphemistic device, nor over such a linguistic phenomenon from the perspective
of Arabic–English translation studies. Thus, we will attempt to gain an educated
insight into the cognitive role of metaphorical euphemism as a resource to pare
down the taboo of death in Jordanian official writing, and, more importantly, to
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
highlight the difficulties and problems associated with translating these cultur-
ally-sensitive Arabic metaphorical euphemisms into English (for a fuller ac-
count on sensitive texts in translation, see Simms 1997:187–239).
Although there is a spate of scholarly treatments covering as diversified
aspects of metaphor and/or metaphorical euphemism as the linguistic, literary,
cultural, and cognitive, scant attention has been given to metaphor and/or meta-
phorical euphemism in translation. The sparse translation studies available still
envisage the translatability of metaphor as a problematic and demanding cross-
cultural activity (see Tobias 2009; Suzani 2006; Huang and Zhoul 2005;
Kövecses 2002; Dobryzynska 1995; Alvarez 1993; Fass 1991; Hermans 1985;
Toury 1981:24; Raffel and Burago 1972:238; Hall 1964:406). Thus, neither
conceptual metaphors nor their linguistic equivalents are necessarily always the
same in interlingual-cultural transfer (cf. Abdul-Raof 2001:121–122; Deignan et
al. 1997; Fung and Kiu 1987; Broeck 1981). For Newmark (1982:84), the pur-
pose of metaphor is to describe an entity, event or quality more comprehen-
sively and concisely and in a more complex way than is possible by using literal
language; for him, it is the translation of metaphor that is “the most important
particular problem” (Newmark 1988:104; see also Megrab 1997:235).
Newmark (1988:108–111) isolates seven strategies for translating meta-
phorical expressions, which can be subsumed under three broad options: (i) Re-
production of the same metaphorical image in the TL; (ii) Replacement of the
source language metaphorical image with a different TL image that conveys a
similar sense, and (iii) Reducing the source language metaphorical image to
sense or literal language. Newmark argues that (i) should be the default posi-
tion, that is, a metaphor should be translated by a metaphor, unless the target
language metaphor does not have comparable frequency and currency in the
relevant TL register (for more information see also Dagut 1976; Dagut 1987:77;
Newmark 1985; Mason 1982:149). However, Newmark’s approach falls short
of providing a more generalized framework for engaging with the source text on
any level deeper than the surface one which calls for mere word-for-word
equivalence in the target text.
Accordingly, cognitive linguistics seems a potentially very promising sub-
discipline to provide a framework within which metaphors can be described,
understood, and translated (see Gibbs 1992, 1994; Ahrens and Say 1999; Kittay
1987; Lakoff and Johnson 1980; Crespo Fernandez 2006a, 2006b). Indeed,
translation research has given prominence to the cultural aspect of translation,
thereby undermining the traditional views that boil down to achieving ‘linguis-
tic equivalence’. This relatively new translation trend lends support to the no-
tion that translation is influenced by factors that go beyond the actual words of
the text (Bassnett and Lefevere 1990; Hermans 2006; Venuti 1998). Thus, in
light of the cognitive linguistic model of Lakoff and Johnson (1980), being
adopted in this paper, metaphors reflect varying cognitive, physical, and cultural
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
human experiences across languages. To put it differently, every culture has its
own microscope through which it envisages and depicts the world, and so meta-
phors are expected to differ cognitively, linguistically, culturally and transla-
tionally across languages (Lakoff and Johnson’s 1980 immensely influential
cognitive linguistic model will be taken up in more detail in section 4).
To this effect, Lakoff and Johnson (1980:12) plainly state that “a culture
may be thought of as providing, among other things, a pool of available meta-
phors for making sense of reality”; “to live by a metaphor is to have your reality
structured by that metaphor and to base your perceptions and actions upon that
structuring of reality” (ibid:12). Dagut (1976:28) emphasizes that “what deter-
mines the translatability of a SL metaphor is not its ‘boldness’ or ‘originality,’
‘but rather the extent to which the cultural experience and semantic associations
on which it draws are shared by speakers of the particular TL.” Similarly, Snell-
Hornby (1995:41) accentuates the same idea in the sense that “the extent to
which a text is translatable varies with the degree to which it is embedded in its
own specific culture, also with the distance that separates the cultural back-
ground of source text and target audience in terms of time and place” (cf. also
Buchowski 1996).
Thus, identifying the cognitive mappings and sub-mappings between the
source and target domains of any given conceptual metaphor may well assist in
both gaining a deeper understanding of the conceptual basis of linguistic meta-
phors and more adequate and communicative translation from one language into
another. That is if the translator understands the cognitive, linguistic, euphemis-
tic, and cultural processes behind the expressions or structures used in the
source text, then s/he would be in an empowered position to yield a proper
translated target language version, and at the same time to intelligently increase
the degrees of interlingual-cultural approximation (for more insightful informa-
tion on the applicability of the cognitive approach to metaphor translation and
other relevant notions see also Schäffner 2004; Crerar-Bromelowe 2008; Man-
delblit 1996; Tirkkonen-Condit 1996 and 2001; Charteris-Black 2004).
Death has been described as “a fear-based taboo” (Allan and Burridge
1991:153), where different fears coexist: fear of the loss of dear ones, fear of
living in limbo, fear of the disintegration of the body, fear of evil ghosts, and
fear of what awaits us in the next phase (i.e., afterlife). For instance, Gross
(1985:203) confirms this outlook on death when he reports that for some Aus-
tralian tribes the taboo of death constrains verbal communication to such an ex-
tent that it is strictly forbidden to utter the name of the person who has passed
away. It seems that in some cultures any denomination employed as an indirect
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
reference to death is tantamount to the word death itself, i.e., any indirect de-
nomination would trigger the same emotional response and possess the same
force as that of the taboo itself. This alludes to the fact that sometimes the
boundaries between the lexical item and its referent are vague. As a result, the
euphemistic options may not always warrant softening the taboo satisfactorily,
as in certain social contexts any reference to death, however indirect it may be,
is definitely disturbing, owing to the fact that any euphemistic alternative will
instantly call it to mind. In such a case silence qualifies as the sole relieving out-
let (cf. Bultnick 1998; Marin Arrese 1996).
As far as Arabic is concerned, the taboo of death cannot be adequately un-
derstood without considering the pivotal role that Islam plays in sepulchral mat-
ters. For all Arabs and Muslims, Islam is believed to provide a reason not only
for living, but also for dying. Therefore, there is no wonder that most, if not all,
the verbalizations as well as the funeral rituals relevant to death are derived
from Islam and its terminology. Accordingly, consolation is based on the
firmly-held Islamic belief in the resurrection of the dead, to be followed by a
completely new life in Heaven, the blessed eternal abode of the faithful, which
makes the circle of the Islamic faith come into full (for similar ideas in Christi-
anity see Wheeler 1994). Thus, the Islamic faith is definitely a source of com-
fort and relief in the face of death, particularly the promise of a blissful Hereaf-
ter beyond this mundane life, beyond physical death; a hope which constitutes
the essence of Islamic orthodoxy, and accounts for a great deal of the meta-
phorical euphemism rampant in obituaries, as it will be illustrated very soon.
Many features of the discourse used in Muslim death obituaries are manifesta-
tions of the underlying agency of God’s (Allah). Muslims routinely attribute di-
vine authority to all events and experiences of life, but at the same time they
also portray themselves as volitional agents in these events. Farghal (1993:43–
45) discusses this in terms of Arab fatalism, commonly associated with “some
sort of theism functioning as its ultimate agency”. By contrast, as Farghal
(ibid.:44) points out, the concept of determinism replaces fatalism in the West-
ern philosophical tradition, thus functioning as a default natural law governing
the course of events.
The terms fatalism and determinism are sometimes confused and used in-
terchangeably. While the former stresses that all events are predetermined by
fate, and are, therefore, unalterable, the latter emphasizes that there must be a
cause behind every event which necessarily precipitates such an event. From the
point of view of determinism, there is no human free will, and so any decision
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
taken is seen as the natural and inevitable result of factors such as physical con-
ditions and environmental circumstances beyond the control of the individual.
On the other hand, in the concept of fatalism, preceding events do not precipi-
tate the events that follow, nor does a fated event take place according to a natu-
ral law. Events happen because of a decree of God or of some supernatural
power (see also Lacey 1986:79; Strawson 1986:95; Berofsky 1971:11–12; Far-
ghal 1995).
Indeed, there has always been a standard misinterpretation of the multifac-
eted nature of Islamic fatalism (cf. Acevedo 2008). For example, a flawed un-
derstanding of the Islamic view, according to which events are destined by the
force of God before whom individuals stand powerless and helpless, some Mus-
lim fatalists would blame everything on the Divine force, and, as a result, reject
life responsibilities and sensibilities. To this effect, fatalism is misunderstood
here in the sense that such Muslim fatalists turn out to envisage fatalism as a
path for unacceptable actions, for immorality, for passivity, or as a peg on
which all forms of failure and negativity are hung. Though the question of fate
and free will has confused people at all times, Islam provides a fairly clear ac-
count of fatalism. Islam is uncompromisingly committed to the freedom of hu-
manity. The Qur’an presupposes two basic qualities of humanity, that is, intelli-
gence and freedom. Humanity needs intelligence and free will as to see the dif-
ference between what is good and evil, and what is lawful and unlawful. So, an
individual needs freedom to opt for a certain course of life which he/she deems
fit for his/her future. If these two basic qualities are lacking, then the whole
concept of religion would be absurd and meaningless.
In Arabic, the words ءﺎﻀﻗ qadaa’ and رﺪﻗ qadar are often used for
predetermination and destiny. Whereas the word qadaa’ means judgment or
settlement, the word qadar means determination or assessment. The Qur’an
speaks of Allah’s eternal decree (qadar), but elsewhere it allows a place for
human free will. However, in Islam these two opposed views are harmonized
and reconciled in that humanity has a certain freedom to acquire actions broadly
foreordained by Allah. Islam never denies human free will. Allah, according to
the Qur’an, tests human beings in this life in order to find out who follows His
laws and who does not and will then chastise or reward them accordingly. For
this reason humanity should possess free will to choose between good and evil.
Thus, according to the Qur’an, what makes history is not a compelling Divine
Will; rather, it is humanity’s own choice, the operation of which Allah Al-
mighty has made a simple condition for the coming into effect of His universal
Allah is recognized by Islam as the first and ultimate cause of all things;
but this does not mean that He is the creator of the deeds of humanity. Every
deed, which an individual does, is followed by a corresponding act of God. If an
individual, for instance, chooses to cross a highway in a reckless manner and
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
gets hit by a car and dies, then death here is a Divine act. So Allah not only cre-
ated the human beings, but also endowed humanity with discretion to choose
how to act, and thus, an individual is responsible for his own deeds, and is made
to suffer the consequences. Therefore, the doctrine of predestination, or the de-
creeing of a good course for one individual and an evil course for another, finds
no support from the Qur’an. However, the doctrine of the decreeing of good and
evil follows from the doctrine of the foreknowledge of God. If Allah knows
what will happen in the future, whether a certain individual will opt for a good
or an evil course, then it follows that Allah’s foreknowledge of a particular
event does not mean that He interferes with the choice of the agent or the doer.
Hence, Allah’s foreknowledge has nothing to do with predestination.
It is clear now that individuals enjoy a special status in Islam as creatures
with a role and mission. Thus, Allah’s power over His creation and His fore-
knowledge of all our actions and events, and their results do not obviate or
obliterate that status. More importantly, Allah’s knowledge of the choices the
individuals are going to make, along with His knowledge about their concomi-
tant consequences, does not block this freedom. This means that there is a bal-
ance between Allah’s qadar and an individual’s freedom, i.e. an individual’s
conscious exercise of will falls within the ample scope of Allah’s qadar, and
Allah’s qadar does not preclude having human freedom of choice. So in Islam,
there is no contradiction between belief in Allah’s will and plan on the one
hand, and the freedom of humans on the other, because Allah’s will and plan
are unlimited, within which there is room for a free and active role for humans.
Obviously, the Islamic belief in qadaa and qadar does not impede people from
striving to achieve their goals in life, as Islam does not encourage passivity and
inactivity. However, an ill-perceived view of Islam may lead others to think that
Muslim fatalism causes stagnation and inactivity in society. Thus, any social
decline or backwardness in any given Muslim country should never be ascribed
to Islam itself; rather, to the people who practice Islam.
Thus, as part of a pragmatic strategy, Muslims tend to emphasize that a su-
pernatural agent intervenes in the lives of people, and does what the individual
cannot or should not do. In this way, individuals can resolve conflicts in their
lives, and accommodate discordant or disturbing thoughts and actions by re-
framing them in Allah’s universal sovereignty. Once these undesirable thoughts
or elements are attributed to an outside entity, there would not be inconsisten-
cies in the Muslim’s life, and the psychological dilemma is resolved. By con-
trast, the notion of God’s agency in Christianity consists of three components:
the Holy Spirit (liveliness), Christ (teleological action), and God the Father
(cognition). Equally important is that God as a pure spirit acts in the world
through Christ. It is also crucial here to point out that the Western conception of
agency draws on the irresistibility of what they call historical laws: humanity is
in a continuous progress towards the final happy end, and so this progress de-
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
pends on the fatalistic, irresistible laws of history which are completely inde-
pendent of humanity. As a result, humanity must, in any case, obey these laws;
otherwise, they are certain to be eliminated (cf. also Bates and MacWhinney
(1982:217; Croft 1994; Langacker 1991; DeLancey 1984; Van Oosten 1985).
Apparently, Western conceptions of agency and fatalism seem to considerably
differ from their Islamic counterparts. Therefore, these differences are likely to
complicate the task of the Arabic translator.
Thoughts or actions that cannot be attributed to Christ or the historical laws
may prove troubling in Western cultures, as applying the notion of agency to an
absolute supernatural agent all the time map on to conceptions of mental insta-
bility and illness in such cultures. Thus, when communicating bodily experi-
ences, translators are actually negotiating between two divergent types of fatal-
ism, i.e., they are negotiating between two contradictory cultural models, which
pose serious translation challenges. The claim made in this study is that the fa-
talistic metaphorical euphemisms used in Arabic obituaries will reflect this on-
going process of negotiation, which requires a carefully nuanced translation.
One way for an Arabic translator to negotiate this impasse is to provide a trans-
lation that takes this discrepancy into account and, at the same time, tries to
downplay the role of supernatural agency as a central element in ritual dis-
There has been a growing influence of cognitive linguistic notions and research
on metaphor in several disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.
The interaction between cognitive scientists and linguists has led to a growing
and impressive body of research about metaphor in language and cognition.
Metaphor has been studied by cognitive linguistics (e.g. Lakoff and Johnson
1980; Johnson 1987; Lakoff 1987); cognitive psychology (e.g. Gibbs 1994;
Allbritton et al. 1995; Gibbs and O’Brien 1990); cultural studies (Fernandez
1991; Holland and Quinn 1987; Csordas 1994; Emanation 1995), and anthro-
pology (D’Andrade 1995; Quinn 1991; Strathern 1996). The theoretical frame-
work upon which the present paper rests is drawn from the cognitive model of
the “Conceptual Metaphor Theory” (henceforth CMT) proposed by Lakoff and
Johnson (1980) in their pioneering book Metaphors We Live By. This represents
one of the central areas of research in the more general field of cognitive lin-
According to cognitive semantics (Johnson 1987; Lakoff 1987), abstract
reasoning depends largely on the use of conceptual metaphors. Metaphors are
conceptual in the sense that metaphor plays a key role in people’s internal men-
tal representations of many, particularly abstract, concepts. In the role of cogni-
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
tive models, conceptual metaphors really determine our world view. So our
view of the world is essentially determined by our image fields. A central prin-
ciple in CMT (Lakoff and Johnson 1980; Johnson 1987; Lakoff 1987, 1990) is
that we cannot capture reality in isolation from human categorization, and that
the structure of reality, as reflected in language, is a product of the human mind.
The most principal tenet in this model is embodiment. That is, human concep-
tual categories, the meaning of all language structures, both at the micro and
macro levels, are not a set of universal abstract features or uninterpreted sym-
bols, but rather, motivated and grounded in experience, in our bodily, physical
and social/cultural experiences, because after all, “we are beings of the flesh”
(Johnson 1992:347). Johnson (1987:172) explains that the way we reason and
what we can experience as meaningful rest on structures of imagination that
shape our experience in the way it is. For instance, emotional unresponsiveness
is associated with coldness and that is why an unsympathetic person has a cold
unfeeling demeanor (Grady 1999:79).
In the CMT framework metaphors are analyzed as stable and systematic re-
lationships between two conceptual ‘domains’. Metaphor in this view is not just
a linguistic device, but a central organizing mechanism in language and thought.
Metaphor is characterized as a process where one experiential domain is con-
ceptualized in terms of another (Lakoff 1993:203; Taylor 1989; Sweetser 1990).
In a nutshell, the CMT proposes that language use reflects inherently meta-
phorical understanding of many areas of bodily experience (Lakoff and Johnson
1980; Johnson 1987; Lakoff 1987; Sweetser 1990). Metaphors are systematic
inter-linkages of multiple expressions which map one relatively concrete ‘do-
main’ on to another. The overall process boils down to the idea that a concrete
domain (the source domain) is mapped on to a more abstract domain (the target
domain, the death taboo in our case). In a metaphorical example like There is an
international conspiracy to bury the issue of the displaced Palestinians. Certain
specific components of the source and target domains are selected through a
combination of the source language used (“bury”), and the relevant conceptual
metaphor, a ‘mapping’ – presumably stored as a knowledge structure in long-
term memory – which specifies how components in the two domains are
aligned with each other. In this metaphor, knowledge structures pertinent to ex-
istence have been put into correspondence with structures concerning seeing
and sensing. Owing to the fact that such a mapping is regulated, non-existence
is associated with burial as well as other conditions which preclude sight and
disclosure. It is this general mapping between visual perception and intellectual
activity that nearly any concept related to the experience of vision is likely to
have an explicit counterpart in the structure of knowledge and ideas. It is clear
that the CMT is primarily concerned with identifying principled conventional
patterns of metaphorical conceptualization, where unidirectional projections
prevail, i.e., in which one-way mappings are from source to target, unlike the
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
case with the blending theory advanced by Fauconnier and Turner (1996, 1998)
which sanctions bidirectionality. Furthermore, the CMT, tacitly and sometimes
explicitly, assumes that conventional metaphorical mappings must be internally
represented in the individual minds of language users, that is, the CMT assumes
that conventional metaphorical mappings pre-exist as independent entities in
long-term memory.
It follows also that these bodily experiences give rise to the development of
an experiential gestalt, called image schemas, which cover a wide range of ex-
periential structures, and can be metaphorically elaborated to provide for our
understanding of more abstract domains. For instance, the conceptual metaphor
ANGER IS HEATED FLUID IN A CONTAINER takes the image schema for
containment as part of its source domain and maps this image-schematic struc-
ture onto anger, which produces a number of interesting linguistic instantiations
(e.g., he was bursting with anger). Thus, metaphor is not only a figure of
speech; rather, it is an imaginative cognitive device through which it is possible
to “ground our conceptual systems experientially and to reason in a constrained
but creative fashion’ (Johnson 1992:351). Although bodily experience is proba-
bly the most basic source domain for conceptual metaphor, people’s view of
their bodies may vary as well. Anthropologists have shown in a number of cul-
tural settings how many embodied experiences are shaped by specific local, so-
cial or cultural knowledge and practice (cf. Csordas 1994; Gibbs 1999:155).
In other words, a given conceptual metaphor is “an emergent property of
body-world interactions, rather than arising purely from the heads of individual
people” (Gibbs 1999:154–56); that is, a given conceptual metaphor may be
more typical of the discourse of one community than that of another (Boers
1999:48). Therefore, cross-cultural variation is also likely to occur, and so
metaphorical models and their relative currency may also vary across communi-
ties defined in ideological terms. For example, while English takes the body as a
whole as the container for anger, Arabic shows a preference for positioning this
emotion in a specific substance of the body, the blood, as in ﻲﻠﻐﻳ ﺔﻣد (His blood
is boiling), and less frequently in the head as in رﺎﻈﺘﻧﻷا لﻮﻃ ﻦﻣ ﻲﻠﻐﻳ ﺔﺳأر (His
head is boiling from waiting for too long).
This conception of metaphor as a largely automatic correspondence be-
tween experiential domains can be applied to the study of metaphorical euphe-
misms figuring in the tabooed discourse of death. An illustrative metaphor
could be DEATH IS A THIEF. In this conceptual metaphor, there is a projec-
tion from a source domain (thief) onto a target domain (death), and the inter-
connections that constitute this metaphor map our perception about thief onto
our perception about death. That is, thieves are associated with stealing not kill-
ing. However, stealing and death are closely associated, as anything which we
highly value, such as our own experiences of happiness, tranquility and peace,
can be metaphorically “stolen” from us, just as life can. Whatever causes us to
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
metaphorically lose these precious elements of our experience can be cast as a
thief. It is in this correspondence between the source and target domains where
the euphemistic component is integrated into the overall cognitive conceptuali-
zation. The source domain is therefore used to understand, reason, structure,
and, in some cases, tone down the target domain. This reflects one of the fun-
damental aspects of the standard cognitive model, the principle of unidirection-
ality, according to which the binding cognitive mapping process initiates from
the more concrete domain and moves on to the more abstract one, i.e. only the
source is projected onto the target domain, but not the opposite (cf. Barcelona
The corpus of the present study samples 450 death announcements excerpted
from the obituary sections of three respectable and reputable Jordanian newspa-
pers: Alra’i, Al-Dustour and Al-Ghadd. As indicated earlier on, the reason why
choice has rested with obituary pages emanates from the fact that these pages
are replete with euphemisms related to the taboo of death. Another motivating
reason is that these pages enable gleaning authentic data, avoiding, thereby, an
approach to the metaphorical euphemism of death with hypothetical or fictitious
examples. In an attempt to minimize variables: (1) the selected newspapers be-
long to the same period, i.e., the 2000s decade, (2) death notices targeting the
Jordanian Christian community were excluded, (3) thank-you-for-your-
condolence notices, which are normally devoid of any core death/dying-related
material, as such notices are specifically designed by the family of the deceased
to record their profound thanks for those who stood by them during the wake or
mourning period, were also excluded, and (4) the selected newspapers have
wide circulations and are regarded as reputable newspapers, targeting all the dif-
ferent educational levels of the Jordanian public, which has never ceased to ex-
perience, as any other Muslim nation, a strong sense of religious spirituality at-
tached to death and many other aspects of life.
Rawson (1995:8) refers to this as a “sentimentalization of death”, the ten-
dency to tone down the taboo by avoiding direct reference to it. As for methods,
the researcher surveyed the obituary pages of the three selected newspapers
thoroughly and exhaustively for euphemistic substitutions of the taboos of death
and dying. Once a euphemistic substitute was spotted, it was accounted for
metaphorically in terms of the conceptual mapping, as spelled out in the cogni-
tive model already presented in the previous section, and translationally in
terms of the challenges posed by the linguistic instantiations of these conceptual
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
In general, the analysis of data obtained from the obituary sections of the three
selected newspapers indicates that the use of euphemism in Jordanian death dis-
course is rife. In fact, out of a total of 450 death obituaries, the ‘unmentionable’
words death and die have appeared not even once in the data, i.e., they showed
zero frequency, a fact which shows how the topic of death and dying is negoti-
ated and managed in Jordanian newspaper obituaries, and how linguistic avoid-
ance of these social taboos affects meaning making. Direct reference to mortal-
ity is completely avoided in all these obituaries. Therefore, the data presented
here may provide a window through which we may observe how death and dy-
ing are shrouded in sentimental, metaphorical and fatalistic-euphemistic de-
scriptors, which are likely to pose serious challenges in translation into English,
as it will be elaborated in the course of this study.
6.1. Euphemistic ‘Metaphor-free’ Conceptualization of Death
Before moving on to the metaphorical conceptualizations of death and dying,
and the possible associated translation difficulties, it is crucial to point out that
the analysis of data revealed the emergence of some lexical and semantic de-
vices, totalling 213 (10.9%) euphemistic substitutes out of 1953 occurrences,
that were employed, alongside metaphorical euphemism, to tone down the ta-
boo of death. These include metonymy, generic terms, and legal terms. Let us
discuss these devices before proceeding any further. As far as the semantic de-
vices are concerned, metonymy has been found to account for 27 (1.3%)
euphemistic references to death. Indeed, the obituaries consulted show the exis-
tence of two types of metonymic associations: first, those which concentrate on
the consequences of death for those left alive, which are the manifestations of
the conceptual metonymy THE SENTIMENTAL EFFECTS OF DEATH
STAND FOR DEATH (pain, dissolution, and wretchedness); second, those
dedicated to ameliorate the communication on death and dying without making
reference to the agonizing sentimental or even physiological effects of death.
The first type can be best exemplified by the following metonymic expression:
ﻢﻟﻷا ﺎهﺮﺼﺘﻌﻳ بﻮﻠﻘﺑ (lit. with hearts squeezed out by pain)
In the example above, the Arabic structure implicitly signals the occur-
rence of death, a conclusion that one may easily draw from the sentimental ef-
fects stemming from the semantics of such construction. This metonymic con-
struction can be considered an overstatement that relatives, friends and ac-
quaintances left behind utilize to magnify the degree of their sorrow and sad-
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
ness in an intelligent way to pacify the bereaved family. The verb ﺎهﺮﺼﺘﻌﻳ
(squeezed out) seems to do most of the job here. The difficulty in translating
this structure springs from the fact that native speakers of Arabic tend to exag-
gerate their sentiments and emotions, and that is why poignant words like
ﺎهﺮﺼﺘﻌﻳ are opted for in order to heighten the degree of exaggeration. Though
this lexical choice may not make complete sense to English mentality, which is
not accustomed to such exaggeration, the image schema employed here may
show up a cultural difference which deserves more attention in translation. A
possible functional translation which may bridge the linguistic-cultural gap is
with hearts smashed by pain, as the idea of smashed hearts, though harbouring
a different image-schema, is an established and conventionalized metaphor that
may serve the same function in the target text. The second type is best repre-
sented by the following example:
ﻪﺑر ﻪﺟو ﻰﻗﻻ (lit. he met the face of his God)
This instance presents a prototypical religious (i.e., Islamic) representation
of the schematic conceptual structure of death. The above instance profiles
death in terms of a particular act, i.e., this religious expression characterizes dy-
ing as meeting God or seeing God’s face. This conceptual extension is clearly
metonymic in that salient acts like meeting God and seeing God’s face are con-
strued as manifestations of death. Translation-wise, what adds to the conceptual
complexity of this metonymic structure is the Arab fatalism inherent in its very
core. The structure ﻪﺑر ﻪﺟو ﻰﻗﻻ is commonly used to make a euphemistic refer-
ence to death. By contrast, English commonly employs fatalism-free death
terms in similar contexts, for instance, ‘pass away’. Hence, God stands for Al-
lah, who from an Islamic standpoint is the agent of mankind’s death. Such
agency is lacking in English, and so can never be incorporated in any TL coun-
terpart. Thus, the challenge here speaks for itself. This being the case, the trans-
lator is propelled to yield a functional equivalent such as in heaven, in a king-
dom, or even s/he enjoys a holy and uninterrupted communion with God, which
is most often restricted to religious discourse, unlike its Arabic counterpart
which can be utilized in religious and non-religious contexts. This restriction,
on the part of English, is responsible for creating a linguistic and cultural com-
munication rift. Despite the fact that the latter translation, from a Christian point
of view, mainly supposes the fulfilment of happiness, it is the closest TL
equivalent to euphemistically convey the conception of Islamic agency. Yet,
there remains an unavoidable semantic loss pertinent to the fatalistic nuance in
the Arabic death structure.
As regards the lexical devices, generic terms were responsible for 48
(2.4%) euphemistic references to mortality, while legal terms totalled 138
(7.6%). The most frequently used generic term to replace the word death was
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
ﻢﻴﻟﻷا بﺎﺼﻤﻟا which communicatively translates as “the painful affliction”, while
the most heavily employed legal term to substitute the word death was ةﺎﻓو
which definitely fulfils a mitigating function when used in a non-legal context
like that of the obituary. The euphemistic term ةﺎﻓو (death) is a fatalistic term
with an unconscious entailment of God (i.e. Allah in our case) as the supernatu-
ral divine authority in charge of life and death. Undoubtedly, the word death as
an optimal TL equivalent for ةﺎﻓو cannot fare well without the ineluctable cost of
losing such a fatalistic connotation.
6.2. Euphemistic ‘Metaphor-based’ Conceptualization of Death
Initially, it is useful to point out that some conceptual metaphors have been
found to have a metonymic basis, which testifies to the fact that there can be
some sort of interaction between metaphor and metonymy. This can best be rep-
resented by the conceptual metaphors DEATH IS A REWARD and DEATH IS
A LOSS, which though intrinsically metaphorical in nature, and considered as
such in the present study, can assist in conceiving metaphors for death on the
basis of the well-known cause–effect equation. It is also crucial to indicate that
some metaphors have been found to present hyperbolic overtones, which further
complicates the process of translation. The euphemistic hyperbole here can be
defined as a tone-downing device which essentially relies on strongly highlight-
ing and magnifying a desirable feature of the source domain referent.
The data analysis revealed that a total of 1740 (89.1%) metaphorical
euphemistic substitutes refer to death and dying, accounting for more than three
quarters of the total number of the euphemisms identified. Thus, these results
evidently accentuate the fact that metaphor is by far the most extensively used
and powerful mechanism in the euphemistic conceptualization of the taboo of
death in Jordanian newspaper obituaries. Metaphor can be envisaged as a robust
device with a great potential for euphemization of the death taboo, a device
which is viewed “not only as a specific figure of speech but also, in its broader
sense, as the foundation of language itself” (Wheeler 1994:21). Conspicuously,
this can explain the pervasiveness of metaphorical formulation in referring to
the topic of death and dying in Jordanian newspaper obituaries. The analysis
also shows that over-sentimentalization, a characteristic feature of metaphorical
euphemization in Jordanian obituaries, is indissolubly linked to the socio-
cultural norms as well as to a fatalistic point of view. Thus, sentimental obituar-
ies can be considered very representative of typical Jordanian social and reli-
gious attitudes to death and dying.
Drawing on the theoretical framework of Cognitive Linguistics presented
earlier on (section 4), the metaphors identified in the 450 obituaries will be ana-
lyzed in terms of the cognitive mappings to which they may be linked, and then
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
will be discussed from a translational viewpoint. This should immensely help
understand the way the taboo of death is actually verbalized, conceived and per-
ceived, and more importantly, mitigated. The data analysis isolated six recurrent
consolatory conceptual metaphors rampant in Jordanian newspaper obituaries:
DEATH IS THE END. The linguistic instantiations of these metaphors were
then coded and counted. It is worthwhile mentioning that overlap is sometimes
unavoidable, as some of the examples provided here can be suggestive of more
than one conceptual metaphor, but the main focus will be placed on the strong-
est, overriding conceptual one. It is also important to point out that a sizable
number of metaphors conceptualize death as a positive event, as a sort of re-
ward in Heaven after a strenuous and virtuous life on earth. Entrenched in Is-
lamic faith, four out of the six conceptual metaphors just mentioned, conceptu-
alize the domain of death in terms of positive domains, notably, as a journey, a
rest, a reward, and a blissful life. There are only two mappings which view
death in a grim fashion: a loss and the end. Evidently, most conceptual meta-
phors detected explicitly advance a positive value-judgment of death, which is
mainly derived from the prevailing Islamic theology.
6.2.1. Death is a journey
Rather than being ornamentally used, the conceptual metaphor DEATH IS A
JOURNEY, which portrays death as a journey in the usual sense known to any
human being, enjoys a privileged status in statistical terms. The results show
that this particular metaphor was the source of 498 (25.4%) euphemistic meta-
phorical substitutes. In this conceptual metaphor, human mortality is conceptu-
alized as a departure from this mundane life to another life in the hereafter, i.e.,
death is understood in terms of a more concrete domain, as a journey, a corre-
spondence which provides the basis for the verbal mitigation of the taboo. In
other words, there is a projection from the source domain journey onto the tar-
get domain death and the set of correspondences that constitute this metaphor
map our perception about journey onto our perception about death. That is,
journey is associated with moving from one place to another. Not only can indi-
viduals go through a physical journey, but they also can experience a spiritual
journey as it is evident in this metaphor. Thus, the pragmatic bottom line this
metaphor is suggesting is that the deceased should not be visualized as an entity
that has perished for good; rather, it should be looked upon as an entity that has
moved on to another place or world.
This metaphorical conceptualization enables speakers to transfer various
properties from the source domain of journey to the target domain death, i.e.,
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
this metaphorical mapping encompasses a bunch of interconnections as a corol-
lary of utilizing the knowledge we possess about journeys to describe the taboo
of death. Such interconnections may include the following: firstly, the act of dy-
ing corresponds to the act of leaving or migrating; secondly, like physical jour-
neys, this spiritual journey has a final destination, which is the other world or
Heaven; thirdly, like any living human capable of making a journey, the de-
ceased is the one that takes the journey, and so, the deceased is considered to be
somehow alive. Despite the fact that there seems to be a widening gulf between
the source and target domains, the reader’s immediate unflawed understanding
of the euphemistic function of the metaphor in question is warranted on the
grounds that these conceptual interconnections are already part of the reader’s
cognitive system (Lakoff 1993:210). It is really in this conception of the de-
ceased as a living person that this metaphor fulfils its euphemistic function. This
conceptualization springs from the orthodox Muslim belief that there is an after-
life beyond death, where all people will be resurrected and, after the Day of
Reckoning, will live for ever either in paradise or hellfire. Therefore, the jour-
ney in the metaphors spotted is viewed from a Muslim perspective as the result
of an action performed by the external agent, Allah.
Such sub-mappings can be traced in the way in which death is verbalized
in the obituary pages consulted. Indeed, the results revealed that there are only
two instances that were exclusively used to buttress such a conceptualization.
The first incorporated the key word transferred, and so two versions were en-
countered in the corpus of the study: the first is the metaphorical construc-
tion ﻞﻘﺘﻧا ﷲا ﺔﻤﺣر ﻰﻟا (lit. he/she transferred to the mercy of Allah), and, the sec-
ond is ﻪﺑر راﻮﺟ ﻰﻟا ﻞﻘﺘﻧا (lit. he/she transferred to the neighbourhood of his Lord).
It is crucial to point out that, statistically, these two versions were dealt with as
one instance, owing to the fact that metaphorization is achieved here through
the employment of a shared component, the linguistic sign transferred. The re-
currence of such a two-version metaphor scored 153 times, thereby representing
From a translational perspective, the expressions “he/she transferred to the
mercy of Allah” or “he/she transferred to the neighbourhood of his/her Lord” do
emerge as persistently fatalism-laden structures, displaying the influence of Is-
lam in people’s daily interactions. Obviously, the two structures make a direct
reference to Allah as the supernatural agent to whose mercy or neighbourhood
people will terminate after death. It is worthy of note that the structure “trans-
ferred to the neighbourhood of his/her Lord” offers a metonymic basis, as it is
usually conceived as “transferred to the limitless bounties bestowed by Allah”,
and, undoubtedly, mercy comes on top of these. Thus, for Muslims these two
versions convey, more or less, the same semantic and pragmatic imports. This
powerful fatalism inherent in such instances can be said to present an uphill
translation task. This daunting translation task stems from the fact that expres-
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
sions like “mercy of Allah” and “neighbourhood of Allah” mitigate the taboo of
death, but they are not stylistically marked expressions: they belong to the ordi-
nary, everyday register of Arabic. Therefore, astute Arabic translators would
normally be quite hesitant to venture down the path of preserving these charac-
teristic fatalistic elements, as literal translation here is pretty counterproductive.
Alternatively, Arabic translators could choose to render such expressions com-
municatively, functionally or idiomatically, i.e., they could use fatalism-free
expressions such as ‘die’, ‘pass away’, or even ‘kick the bucket’ if the context
of the situation allows. Yet, however communicative, functional or idiomatic a
translation may be, a semantic or translation loss of the fatalistic features is un-
avoidable. A possible compensatory procedure that the Arabic translator can
follow here is to supply the missing parts of the message paralinguistically by
footnoting the translation.
The second instance which substantiates the conceptual metaphor DEATH
IS A JOURNEY is the metaphorical structure ﻌﺟار ﻪﻴﻟا ﺎﻧاو ﺎﻧانﻮ (lit. we are for
Allah and to Him we are returning). This euphemistic-metaphoric structure ex-
hibited a higher frequency than the previous two-version instance already dis-
cussed. The Arabic structure, which communicatively translates as “we are pos-
sessed by Allah and to Him we will return”, recurred 345 times, thus, constitut-
ing 17.6% in an earnest bid to euphemize the context of death. Clearly, the
overall semantics of the Arabic structure places much emphasis on the return
journey, with Allah being the final destination, thus implicitly assuming that Al-
lah originally put us on a journey to this worldly life, and now it is time for
packing and going back (to Him). The mere mention of this Arabic structure in
any formal obituary is sufficient enough to stand on its own to euphemistically
designate the idea of death.
On an equal footing, without underlying any stylistic shifts, this structure
invariably features in the daily social life, as it is informally used to talk about
the taboo of death. In addition to that, sometimes native Arabic speakers in
some Arabic countries such as Jordan and Syria exploit this structure in their in-
formal gatherings to express their sympathizing attitude to anyone exposed to
grave problems, catastrophes, loss of anything, etc. Likewise, this structure is
charged with fatalistic content which complicates the activity of translation.
Conspicuously, this structure not only embodies the explicitly fatalistic lexical
item Allah, but also includes the anaphoric pronoun ﻪﻴﻟا (to Him), a bound word
which functions as an amplifier or a booster of (Muslim/Arab) agency. Being
saturated with such an Islamic fatalism, Arabic translators may find themselves
in a vicious circle as they would be required to translationally obliterate the
force of such fatalism, considering the fact that these unmarked Arabic fatalistic
stretches are considered marked and insipid in English.
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
6.2.2. Death is a blissful life
The persistent high Muslim view of a blissful life rests on the belief that obey-
ing Allah in all the observances He prescribed will guarantee a decent care-free
life on earth, and a peaceful, bountiful, and everlasting existence in Heaven.
This belief propelled the obituary writer to utilize this poignant aspect of Mus-
lim religious spirituality to conceptualize death euphemistically in 355 (18.1%)
metaphorical alternatives. The 355 metaphorical alternatives have been found to
be encapsulated in only two recurrent instantiations, a fact which reflects the
degree of consistency in Arabic discourses of death. The two instances include:
(a) س ﻰﻌﻨﻳ.... مﻮﺣﺮﻤﻟا)ﷲا نﺬﺌﺑ (ص...
(lit. condoles X the mercy-receiver (with God’s permission) Y)
X offers his/her condolences for Y the mercy-receiver (God willing)
(b) س ﻰﻌﻨﻳ.... ﻪﻟ رﻮﻔﻐﻤﻟا)ﷲا نﺬﺌﺑ (ص...
(lit. condoles X the forgiven (with God’s permission) Y)
X offers his/her condolences for Y the forgiven (God willing)
As can be observed, the examples in (a) and (b) above offer metaphorical
substitutes that constitute clear examples of the metaphor DEATH IS A BLISS-
FUL LIFE, where the former occurred in 282 (14.4%) verbalizations, while the
latter in 73 (3.7%). Notably, these examples present a cognitive mapping ac-
cording to which the attributes of the source domain, i.e., a blissful life, transfer
to the target domain, i.e., death. Under the firm Islamic belief in the resurrection
of the dead, metaphors of hope and consolation that arise from this conceptual
association, for instance, the mercy-receiver and the forgiven, cater for positive
overtones to beautify death. That is, the euphemistic aspect of the source do-
main in the metaphorical substitutes proposed (i.e. the mercy-receiver and the
forgiven) in this mapping is pretty conceivable, considering the idiosyncratic
way of reasoning about death from an Islamic perspective, as is the case in the
DEATH IS A JOURNEY metaphor discussed in 6.2.1.
On the basis of this conceptualization, the expressions the mercy-receiver
and the forgiven not only can be interchangeably used to make an indirect refer-
ence to death, and thus inspire a positive view of death, but they also imply a
positive view of earthly life which fuels mercy and forgiveness after death. This
sub-mapping stems from the Islamic belief that the worldly life is always seen
as the determinant of the type of retribution or life the person would live in the
hereafter; that is, upon a good conduct and righteousness in the earthly life, the
deceased would enjoy the multifarious bountiful graces of God, whereas, con-
ducting a sinister and mischievous life would only result in chastisement be-
yond death. In a nutshell, this conceptual metaphor seems to suggest two possi-
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
bilities: a transition from worldly happiness into more heavenly happiness; or,
alternatively, a transition from worldly misery into more misery after death.
However, the metaphor explicitly highlights the first possibility, rather than the
second in order to ameliorate the taboo of death.
Translating these metaphorical substitutes is fraught with special difficul-
ties that essentially arise from the fatalistic force which permeates the source
domain of the conceptual metaphor, as indicated above. As it can be noted, the
Arabic source domains the mercy-receiver and the forgiven are unmistakably
charged with fatalism, owing to the fact that they are followed by the discourse
conditional if God permitted, which illustrates how, in the microscope of Mus-
lims, everything is conditioned by the permission/will of Allah. Discourse con-
ditionals such as these do belong to the general, unmarked register in Arabic,
whereas their English formal counterparts are confined to the religious register.
Consequently, if the Arabic translator endeavours to achieve naturalness in what
he/she is supposed to relay, he/she would be compelled to search for pragmatic
equivalents that are devoid of such a discordant aspect.
6.2.3. Death is a rest
A third major metaphor conceptualizing death and dying positively is DEATH
IS A REST, the least frequent one, which occurred 54 times (2.7%). In this con-
ceptual metaphor, death is seen as a desirable condition where the beloved is
immersed in a relaxing life after an earthly existence. This impressive judgment
of death culminates in the word rest, which was exploited in the relevant in-
stances of this metaphor to be the source of euphemistic substitution. The un-
derlying cognitive mapping of the metaphor in question boils down to equating
death with rest and repose, i.e., there is a projection from the source domain
(rest) onto the target domain (death), and the set of correspondences that make
up this metaphor map our perception about rest onto our perception about
death. That is, the ostensible cognitive correspondences suggest that rest is as-
sociated with freedom from all pain, sorrow, doubt, struggle, disappointment,
passion, and even further desire: at rest; in peace; and, in a state of complete sat-
isfaction. On the other hand, rest offers the inverse sub-mapping that the sort of
life after death is free from minor and major imperfections such as fatigue, mis-
ery, and wretchedness. Such a conceptualization which establishes equilibrium
between death and rest cannot but be considered a remarkable euphemistic ref-
erence to the taboo of death, mainly because this unifying correspondence ulti-
mately results in the denial of death as such: the beloved is no longer dead;
rather, he/she is enjoying a graciously relaxing, and comfortable life.
The conventional linguistic expression encoding this conceptual metaphor
was the Qur’anic verse:
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
ﻲﻓ ﻲﻠﺧدﺎﻓ ﺔﻴﺿﺮﻣ ﺔﻴﺿار ﻚﺑر ﻰﻟا ﻲﻌﺟرا ﻪﻨﺌﻤﻄﻤﻟا ﺲﻔﻨﻟا ﺎﻬﺘﻳأﺎﻳﻲﺘﻨﺟ ﻲﻠﺧداو يدﺎﺒﻋ "ﺮﺠﻔﻟا /27-30
To the righteous soul will be said: “O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and
satisfaction! Come back thou to thy Lord, – well pleased (thyself), and well-
pleasing unto Him! Enter thou, then, among my Devotees! Yea, enter thou my
Heaven! (Ali 1983:1735).
The above Qur’anic structure clearly encapsulates the conceptual metaphor
DEATH IS A REST already explained. It is also important to note that this
metaphor involves a metonymic basis in the sense that if a soul is in (complete)
rest and satisfaction, it automatically means that death has already occurred.
Ali’s translation provided above can be said to be a faithful TL version in terms
of meaning, style, and most importantly, the degree of fatalism characterizing
the (Qur’anic) Arabic structure. In Muslim theology, this stage of the soul is the
final stage of permanent bliss. Thus, the climax of the entire situation is “enter
thou my Heaven!” – God’s own Heaven that believers reach only through God’s
grace. This translation is quite convenient since it is situated within the religious
context. However, this Qur’anic verse proved to be utilized in social contexts
such as that of the obituary pages, which represents a contextual shift that may
well invalidate the felicity and acceptability of such a scriptural translation.
In other words, the contextual variation this verse is undergoing (from reli-
gious to social) does seem to entail re-translating, not over-translating. It is ob-
vious that this metaphor reflects an underlying religious (and cultural) model of
death attributable to an outside agent, God (Allah). Given that the notion of
agency is mutually inconsistent between Arabic and English, negotiating this
supernatural experience to English is bound to ‘flare up’ a conflict which im-
poses communicative-pragmatic pressures on Arabic translators. Thus, any
conventionalized equivalent TL version should take on board the demands of
this particular communicative interaction and, as a result, lessen this agonizing
agency. Indeed, the association between death as a rest from the hardships of
our worldly life is closely connected to the DEATH IS A REWARD metaphor
that will be taken up in the following section.
6.2.4. Death is a reward
The previous conceptual metaphor which understood death as a blissful life is
closely related to the current metaphor, where death is conceptualized as a re-
ward. This clearly positive conceptualization, which figured in 333 (17%)
metaphorical occurrences, subscribes to the Islamic view that death can be a
reward for those pious and virtuous individuals who have led exemplary lives.
Therefore, death is envisaged here as a commendable event which, far from be-
ing harmful, appalling or even spooky, underpins the notion of retribution in its
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
brightest side (for the deceased), and involves a glimmer of hope and enhances
a profound consolation and relief for the bereaved family battered by the hurri-
cane of death. This conceptual mapping has a metonymic basis (THE EFFECTS
OF DEATH STAND FOR DEATH), owing to the fact that it depicts death in
terms of its effects. Indeed, the conceptual metaphor DEATH IS A REWARD
evokes death as ‘benign fate’, as an event which calls for exaltation and rever-
ence. Under this cognitive schema, the encyclopedic knowledge we possess
about the source domain, i.e., reward maps onto our knowledge about the target
domain of death. Accordingly, the sole conceptual correspondence here is that
the act of dying is a religious reward, pre-conditioned by leading a righteous life
on earth. This figuratively binding interface, which basically springs from Is-
lamic ideology, constitutes the source of the reward, the reason why it was em-
ployed to mitigate the target domain of death.
The adorable cognitive equation DEATH IS A REWARD was mainly re-
flected in one recurrent metaphorical euphemism which occurred 333 times,
thus making up 17% of the total number of the metaphors detected:
ﻪﻧﺎﻨﺟ ﺢﻴﺴﻓ ﻪﻨﻜﺳاو ﻪﺘﻤﺣر ﻊﺳاﻮﺑ ﷲا ﻩﺪﻤﻐﺗ
(lit. May Allah engulf him/her in His broader mercy and put him/her up in His
spacious Heaven).
May Allah shower him/her with His unending mercy and send him/her to His
spacious paradise.
The Arabic structure above is a clear example of an interactive metaphoric-
euphemistic formulation in which the ‘unmentionable’ words such as ‘die’ and
‘death’ are vehemently avoided. On a closer scrutiny, it is self-evident that this
formulation does not lend itself to easy rendering in view of the fact that the
known Islamic fatalism found its way to such a metaphor by the virtue of hav-
ing the explicit word Allah. Being fatalism-laden, this Arabic structure is hard
for native speakers of English to process and to accept. This complexity would
remain looming unless the fatalistic elements are replaced with agency-
mitigating culture-sensitive equivalents, or, completely weeded out which, in
any case, would procure irredressable semantic loss. It is clear that fatalism
represents a cultural barrier that exceeds the linguistic resources of the TL. A
literal approach to deal with this insurmountable translation impasse is very
likely to smuggle in a conceptually-alien TL version, and so it bears witness to
this perplexity. At best, the Arabic translator is therefore forced to render the
configurations of fatalism either functionally or ideationally.
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
6.2.5. Death is a loss
The metaphor DEATH IS A LOSS is one of the two conceptual mappings
which conceptualize death bleakly, thus expressing a negative value-judgment
of death. According to this highly frequent metaphor, the source domain of
death is understood in terms of loss in 372 (19.4%) of the instances identified.
This conceptual association has a metonymic basis (i.e. THE EFFECTS OF
DEATH STAND FOR DEATH) which highlights the negative side of death. In
line with Bultnick (1998: 44–45), the conceptual grounds of this mapping ema-
nates from the fact that life is seen as a valuable and precious object, and death
is thus seen as the loss of this asset. Contrary to the previous conceptual map-
pings, the metaphorical substitutes that this particular figurative mapping sup-
plies does not offer any degree of consolation or relief. Following Allan and
Burridge (1991: 162), the conceptualization of death as loss delineates death as
“malign fate”, as an event that goes beyond the control of human beings, reduc-
ing them to powerless creatures in the face of the invincible event.
Two conventional linguistic instantiations embracing this conceptual meta-
phor have been detected, the first of which emerges in the following Arabic lin-
guistic formula: س ﻰﻌﻨﻳ ...مﻮﺣﺮﻤﻟا ﺪﻴﻘﻔﻟا/ص ﻪﻟ رﻮﻔﻐﻤﻟا...
X offers his/her condolences for the loss of (the mercy-receiver/the forgiven) Y
Notably, the euphemistic substitute loss, which was the most employed
term in this domain with 192 (9.8%) occurrences, represents the peak of this
‘lamentable’ conceptualization. It is worthy to note also that the two fatalistic
chunks the mercy-receiver or the forgiven are inseparably linked with the entire
structure, i.e., the Arabic term ﺪﻴﻘﻔﻟا for the loss of (the beloved) must always be
followed by one of these fatalistic terms in order to mitigate the impact of the
term loss, which sounds too harsh if it were to stand on its own. As regards the
second linguistic realization of the conceptual metaphor in hand, the obituary
sections consulted offered the following conventional linguistic construction,
which occerred 180 (9.2%) times:
ناﻮﻠﺴﻟاو ﺮﺒﺼﻟا ﻞﻴﻤﺟ ﻪﻠهأ ﻢﻬﻠﻳ نا ﻞﺟو ﺰﻋ ﻰﻟﻮﻤﻟا ﻦﻴﻠﺋﺎﺳ
Imploring God to abound his family with good patience and oblivion
As can be observed, the words نﻮﻠﺴﻟاو ﺮﺒﺼﻟا patience and oblivion appear to
embody the cognitive metaphorical-metonymic equation in which death is felt
through its grave consequences, which require the assistance of Providence to
give more patience and to enable oblivion to take place, all in a bid to come to
terms with this horrible condition. The key to understanding the euphemistic
force of this Arabic discourse is the central dynamic of attributing the overall
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
event to God, which was self-evident in the elements (i.e. imploring God) that
preceded the linguistic metaphor نﻮﻠﺴﻟاو ﺮﺒﺼﻟا patience and oblivion. As indi-
cated earlier on, the difficulties associated with translating the two instances
above lie in the fact that, unlike Arabic, English systematically reduces agency
by attributing divine authority to the speakers’ own speech acts. Thus, the Ara-
bic (fatalistic) prototypical model of agency spelled out by the instances rele-
vant to this conceptual metaphor plays a negligible role in English, and so it can
be labelled as futile and baffling, a fact which throws up a serious challenge in
interlingual communication.
6.2.6. Death is the end
The last central conceptual metaphor that paints a somewhat dark picture of the
taboo can be manifested in the cognitive schema DEATH IS THE END, which
provided the basis for perceiving and mitigating death and dying in 138 (7%)
occurrences. Within this framework, end, the source domain, is mapped onto
death, the target domain. This metaphorical schema seems to be organically
linked to the SOURCE-PATH-GOAL schema (Lakoff 1987:275), according to
which every experience can be viewed as a process with an initial state (source),
a sequence of intermediate stages (path), and a final state (goal). On such
grounds, death is conceptualized as the final stage which marks the end of one’s
lifetime. Sharing some basic metaphorical entailments, the most prominent as-
pect of the combination of these associative schemas is end which enables this
conceptualization to reach its climax. The conceptual matching between death
and end was found to be realized by two conventional linguistic structures in
Arabic, the first of which, a two-version structure, occurred 84 (4.3%) times:
ﻩرﺪﻗو ﷲا ءﺎﻀﻘﺑ ﺔﻨﻣﺆﻣ بﻮﻠﻘﺑ
With hearts having faith in the fate and destiny prescribed by Allah
ﻩرﺪﻗو ﷲا ءﺎﻀﻘﺑ ﺎﻤﻴﻠﺴﺗو ﺎﻧﺎﻤﻳا
Having faith in and surrendering to the fate and destiny prescribed by Allah
At a quick glance, the common thread among the two Arabic correspondences
above is that they are all manifestations of fatalistic encounters with the divine
in one form or another. For both the translators and audience, these signs testify
to the continual presence of Allah and confirmation of the fact that He does in-
tervene in the lives of all human beings who, according to his will and plans, are
doomed to perish willy-nilly, i.e., these images seem to serve exclusively as re-
minders that God has ultimate power over humans. Thus, these divine encoun-
ters fulfil a mitigating function in the sense that believers can accommodate the
disturbing thoughts pertinent to death by attributing the event to Allah, the Crea-
tor. The type of difficulty associated with translating this fatalism-saturated
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
structure requires no further emphasis here. The second formal linguistic struc-
ture epitomizing the DEATH IS THE END metaphor, with 54 (2.7%) occur-
rences, was the following:
ﻪﻧﺎﻤﺜﺟ ﻊﻴﺸﻴﺳو/ ﻲﻓ ﺮﻴﺧﻷا ﻩاﻮﺜﻣ ﻰﻟا ﺎه...
And he/she will be buried in his/her last abode in…
Interestingly enough, this instance does not seem to exploit a cognitive domain
that is alien to its metaphorical English equivalent, i.e., this metaphor is an es-
sential part of mankind’s bodily experience, and so, it constitutes a shared cog-
nitive environment between English and Arabic. The universality of this con-
ceptualization facilitates understanding how the expression ﺮﻴﺧﻷا ﻩاﻮﺜﻣ last abode
can be a salubrious euphemistic option in this context. Though Arabic tends to
specify more fatalistic components in its conventionalized linguistic expres-
sions, this particular instance is fatalism-free, which is likely to assist in yield-
ing a straightforward translation.
The present paper attempted to investigate metaphorical euphemistic conceptu-
alization, verbalization, and translation of the taboo of death in Jordanian news-
paper obituaries. The salient sentimentalization of death and dying provide a
fertile soil for euphemistic metamorphization, providing a source of relief and
consolation in the face of death. The high frequency of metaphorical substitutes
proves that metamorphization is a powerful device in generating euphemistic
language. In fact, out of a total of 1953 euphemistic substitutes, the results re-
vealed that 1740 (89.1%) metaphorical euphemisms have been detected to des-
ignate death and dying. This proliferation of metaphorical euphemisms does
seem to be characteristic of Arabic obituary discourse. To a lesser extent, other
lexical and semantic devices, totalling 213 (10.9%) euphemistic substitutes
were indispensable in downtoning the taboo of death. These include metonymy
(1.3%), generic terms (2.4%), and legal terms (7.6%).
Following the influential “Conceptual Metaphor Theory” proposed by La-
koff and Johnson (1980), it was possible to provide a better explanatory account
of euphemisms connected with death and dying, which was evident in the con-
ceptual interconnections in the euphemistic figurative language of the obituary
pages consulted. Indeed, this paper demonstrated that the “Conceptual Meta-
phor Theory” lends itself to universal application, and so, the model of Cogni-
tive Linguistics can be said to be a workable and reliable framework for advanc-
ing a conceptual and practical understanding of the notion of death in its various
contexts. The applicability of this model showed that the metaphors detected
Across Languages and Cultures 12 (1) (2011)
project different kinds of conceptual mappings and image-schemas. Six salient
conceptual metaphors, which entail further sub-mappings or ontological corre-
spondences between the source and target domains, have been found to euphe-
mize death and dying. These include: DEATH IS A JOURNEY (25.4%),
END (7%). The overwhelming majority of the linguistic metaphors, the instan-
tiations of the six conceptual metaphors, have been found to draw on Islamic
beliefs in general. In this vein, most of the metaphorical instantiations appeared
to epitomize the Islamic hope that the deceased will enjoy a better life, espe-
cially if he/she has led a virtuous and righteous worldly life.
Translationally, a descriptive difference between Arabic and English that is
apparent is that Arabic tends to utilize more fatalistic language than English
does in depicting death and dying. The fact that the euphemistic metaphorical
language of death and dying is fatalism-ridden has been shown to present Arab
translators with serious translation challenges, which can be attributed to the
fact that Arabic and English offer conflicting prototypical models of agency.
The analysis also indicated that Arabic fatalistic language figures heavily in the
obituary pages consulted. This proliferation has a mitigating function, but, at the
same time, lands the translator with the difficult task of negotiating the meaning
between two contrasting cultural models. This is so as the fatalistic Arabic ex-
pressions belong to the general, unmarked register of the language, whereas
their formal English counterparts, if they happen to exist, would exclusively be-
long to the religious register, which would sound odd and would not make sense
in similar social contexts. As a corollary, the translator is compelled to opt for a
communicative, functional or idiomatic rendition. Nonetheless, such translation
strategies may not warrant maintaining the same degree of informativity of the
SLT, not excluding stripping it from its dynamism, a fact which would procure
an irredressable translation loss at any case.
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... Linguists should rely on a number of dictionaries in both Arabic and English to pin down the specific meaning of words. A linguist should also consult various commentaries of the Qur'an to obtain proper interpretation of the Qur'anic verses (for a cognitive scholarly treatment of metaphor in Arabic religious discourse, see also Zahid 2007 andAl-Kharabsheh 2011). Demir (2016) concludes that cognitive theory attached importance to context rather than to words. ...
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This paper endeavors to promote research into the under-explored field of mental tropes by investigating the translatability of two intriguing types: the active participle and the passive participle. These two types have been examined with special reference to the Qur'an. A close-reading-of-parallel-texts method has been used. The method involves the selection of Qur'anic texts and their corresponding translations in conjunction with a host of Qur'an-related authentic exegeses as to provide a point of departure for the ensuing discussion. Analysis mainly reveals two distinct cases of syntactic twisting and semantic exclusivity: the first is where the active participle is found to serve the function and give the meaning of the passive participle, and the second is where the passive participle is found to serve the function and give the meaning of the active participle. The study also shows that translation incommensurabilities (Kuhn, 1962) at the syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, rhetorical, and exegetical levels are very much in evidence in the selected translations, which may preclude a translation from assuming a trusted authority. Finally, the study proposes a tenable translation procedure to deal with Qur'anic mental tropes, viz. the communicative-exegetic translation.
... It is widely used to communicate effectively about sensitive, unspeakable or forbidden matters. That is, speakers resort to euphemism as a response to the existence of taboos in society to stay within agreeable established boundaries (Al-Kharabsheh, 2011;Fromkin and Rodman, 1993;Allan and Burridge, 1991;Williams, 1975). Moreover, euphemism intentionally functions as a useful way to consider the listener's feelings and maintain the speaker's approach through showing respect and politeness toward each other (Allan and Burridge, 1991). ...
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This paper aims to investigate the role of intratextuality and contextuality in the mechanisms of understanding euphemism in the Qur'an, which in some cases would provide evidence for the intended meaning or a way of interpreting and translating euphemisms. It hypothesises that the dependence only on dictionary, exegesis or single text may yield misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the euphemistic meaning. The paper develops a linguistic model for critical evaluation of the translation of Qur'anic euphemisms based on the textual level, which goes beyond word or sentence levels. Methodologically, certain euphemisms in different verses in the Qur'an which require intratextual or contextual references for their identification and interpretation are selected and then possible interpretations of their meanings are verified via checking semantic coherence with other Qur'anic verses. The size of the selected sample is representative to cover the most common taboos in any society; namely health, death, sex and sodomy. Six translations of these euphemistic expressions of the Qur'an are fully analysed. The paper gives evidence that translation decisions made by translators need to rely on information beyond traditional dictionaries or exegetic works and require the recognition of intratextual and contextual ties within the Qur'an. It also finds that most translators attempt to convey the intended meaning of euphemisms, while the euphemistic style is sacrificed. The study concludes that the translation of euphemism in the Qur'an should adhere to the syntactic patterns and lexical units of the source language (SL) structure, and make cultural and linguistic shifts in the target language (TL).
... The majority of studies focuses on a particular structural, linguistic, contentrelated, multimodal, or rhetorical aspect of obituaries. A well-exploited topic is that of metaphors in obituaries (e.g., Al-Kharabsheh, 2011;Cheung & Ho, 2004;Crespo Ferna´ndez, 2006Dieltjens & Heynderickx, 2012;Heynderickx & Dieltjens, 2016;Sexton, 1997). Based on the Conceptual Metaphor Theory of Lakoff and Johnson, Crespo Ferna´ndez (2011) offers a framework for the categorization of metaphors of death in obituaries and epitaphs. ...
In literature, obituaries from different cultures and languages have been studied on different levels and from different perspectives. One of the popular research topics is the use of metaphors, since metaphors help to cope with death, which in modern society is still a taboo. This article presents a bottom-up, primarily qualitative analysis of the metaphors in 150 obituaries of sportspeople, published in online versions of newspapers/magazines and on the Internet. As expected, the obituaries contain the traditional metaphors of death. Also more original, creative metaphors are introduced to describe death in a euphemistic way. Some of those have a link to sports but not systematically to the sport practiced by the deceased.
... Koester (2008) examines their temporal and social dimensions. Obituaries also form suitable material for investigating metaphors and euphemisms of death, as several studies demonstrate (Al-Kharabsheh, 2011;Cheung & Ho, 2004;Crespo Fernández, 2006Dieltjens & Heynderickx, 2012). ...
In the literature extensive attention is given to the content, structure and style of obituaries in newspapers. Analyses of the demise of colleagues in internal business communications are however non-existent. This paper discusses a bottom-up analysis of 150 obituaries published in Flemish staff magazines-obituaries that mostly focus on the deceased's career and professional qualities. Following analysis, the data were divided in obituaries that are continuous texts and obituaries with a letter format. The differences between the two types lie at different levels: format, content, structure and language use. Obituaries with a letter format are characterized and determined by three paradoxes: the sender-receiver paradox, life-death paradox and happiness-sadness paradox.
The fight metaphors discussed in this article are linguistic expressions of physical conflict, a revolutionary legacy that still lingers in contemporary Chinese political discourse. This article takes a critical cognitive-linguistic approach to fight metaphors in translation, analysing a dataset comprising the Chinese governmental and Communist Party of China’s congressional reports and their official English-language translations from 2004 to 2020. The discussion highlights conceptual metaphor’s representational role and its ideological potential in discourse, and operationalises the English-based metaphor identification procedure ( Steen et al. 2010 ) for Mandarin texts. Drawing on corpus-based evidence, the article argues that fight metaphors in the source texts (STs) legitimise and consolidate Beijing’s dominance of domestic power by generating positive representations and reproducing patriotic ideology. The translations of those metaphors transform Beijing’s image, assertive in the STs, into a non-aggressive one for the international readership. The target texts (TTs) also reproduce favourable representations from the STs to justify China’s unique political system and to satisfy a pragmatic need – that of constructing positive images for the Chinese authority and China internationally.
This study investigates a special category of euphemism, i.e., euphemizers ( Farghal 2012 ). It makes a key distinction between euphemism which is normally engineered to mitigate the impact of a certain specific expression in a structure through substituting it by a milder one, and euphemizer which is seen as a scene-setter for and an impact-softener of the entire topic or discourse in any given communicative situation. As far as the Politeness Principle ( Leech 1983 ) and the Cooperative Principle ( Grice 1975 ) are concerned, the study shows that euphemizers in Jordanian Arabic have been found to be exploited to generate particularized rather than generalized conversational implicatures or floutings as to achieve certain communicative politeness-related purposes, such as softening the overarching negative force of the entire discourse, soothing the fury of interactants, showing respect, high-esteem, friendliness, warmth, and hospitability. These purposes emerge as the raison d’être behind such a pervasive “socio-discoursal deodorization.” Analysis also shows that the pragmatic translation proved to be an appropriate, but to a large extent, a dominant strategy that has aptly been opted for in dealing with many cases that match with English, whereas the deletion or zero-translation strategy, to a lesser extent, has been applied to unmatchful ones.
This chapter explores potential benefits of closer interaction between metaphor studies and translation process research. It presents some developments within translation studies that make use of conceptual metaphor theory and illustrates some process research methods for investigating metaphors. The chapter considers a number of methodological recommendations and argues that the need to take full account of insights from metaphor studies and associated disciplines is of greatest importance. Another significant potential innovation is the use of a multilingual approach in respect of both product-and process-oriented studies in order to increase both the amount and the generality of data available for analysis. Thirdly, it is important to extend the current source-text (ST) oriented approach. The chapter concludes by suggesting some options for triangulating data gathered through a combination of methods.
Metaphor and Metonymy at the Crossroads is a collection of essays, most of them written from a cognitive linguistics standpoint by leading specialists in the fields of conceptual metaphor and metonymy, and conceptual integration (blending). The book has two main goals. One of them is to discuss in new, provocative ways the nature of these conceptual mappings in English and their interaction. The other goal is to explore by means of several detailed case studies the central role of these mappings in English. The studies are, thus, concerned with the operation of metaphor and metonymy in discourse, including literary discourse or with the effect of metaphorical and/or metonymic mappings on some aspects of linguistic structure, be it polysemy or grammar. The book is of interest to students and researchers in English and linguistics, English literature, cognitive psychology and cognitive science. © 2000, 2003 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin.
This classic research monograph develops and illustrates the theory of linguistic structure known as Cognitive Grammar, and applies it to representative phenomena in English and other languages. Cognitive grammar views language as an integral facet of cognition and claims that grammatical structure cannot be understood or revealingly described independently of semantic considerations.