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Humlab Talk: Metaphor, Language, and Thought

Time Wednesday 9 February, 2022 at 15:00 - 16:00
Place ZOOM - registration required

Marlene Johansson Falck, Department of Language Studies

Our everyday, ordinary language is full of metaphor. When we are happy, we are feeling up and when we are sad, we are feeling down. When talking about time, we say that the future is ahead of us, and the past behind. Metaphorical expressions such as these reflect metaphorical uses of one kind of experience (e.g., spatial relations) ways to think and talk about other kinds of experiences (e.g., feelings and time).

This presentation deals with what metaphor analysis may tell us about thought patterns. I give a brief introduction to the theory of conceptual metaphor ((Lakoff & Johnson, 1980/2008) and then discuss my work on conceptual metaphors at the level of language (Johansson Falck, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2022; Johansson Falck & Gibbs, 2012). Combined psychological and corpus linguistic surveys suggest that linguistic metaphors are neither merely lexical, nor merely reflecting more schematic mappings. They are conceptual mappings that involve speakers’ embodied experiences of the specific concepts that they refer to by the lexical items that they use. By investigating patterns at this level of abstraction, we may gain insights into how speakers’ embodied understandings of the world around them through affordances (Gibson, 2015) help them structure, re-experience, and fine-tune the system of more schematic metaphors (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980/2008, 1999).

This seminar is a Design Informatics and Humlab online event.


Registration and Participation 

This lecture is held on ZOOM. To participate you will need to register. Sign up using the form below to receive a link to the meeting.



Gibson, J. J. (2015). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception: Classic Edition. New York, NY and Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press.

Johansson Falck, M. (2010). Are metaphorical paths and roads ever paved?: corpus analysis of real and imagined journeys. Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 8(1), 93-122.

Johansson Falck, M. (2012). From perception of spatial artefacts to metaphorical meaning. In L. Filipović & K. M. Jaszczolt (Eds.), Space and Time in Languages and Cultures II: Language, Culture and Cognition (pp. 329-349). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Johansson Falck, M. (2013). Narrow paths, difficult roads, and long ways: Travel through space and metaphorical meaning. In C. Paradis, J. Hudson, & U. Magnusson (Eds.), Conceptual Spaces and the Construal of Spatial Meaning: Empirical Evidence from Human Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Johansson Falck, M. (2018). From ecological cognition to language: When and why do speakers use words metaphorically? Metaphor and Symbol, 33(2), 61-84.

Johansson Falck, M. (2022). Lexico-encyclopedic conceptual (LEC) metaphors. In T. L. Fuyin (Ed.), Handbook of Cognitive Semantics. the Netherlands: Brill.

Johansson Falck, M., & Gibbs, R. W. (2012). Embodied motivations for metaphorical meanings. Cognitive Linguistics, 23(2), 251-272. doi:10.1515/cog-2012-0008

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980/2008). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago Press.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to western thought: Basic books.



Organizer: Humlab
Event type: Lecture
Staff photo Marlene Johansson Falck
Marlene Johansson Falck
Other position, professor
Read about Marlene Johansson Falck
Jon Svensson
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