Is up always good and down always bad? : From linguistic to conceptual orientational metaphors in Arabic
The current study investigates Arabic orientational metaphors in Modern Standard Arabic. Specifically, it is a corpus-based study that tries to retrieve conceptual orientational metaphors of up-down, front-back, right-left, and central-peripheral spatial orientation. The study assumes that every orientation can be described using a set of different lexemes, and these lexemes express different linguistic orientational metaphors with different levels of usage frequency. It is hypothesized that studying the relationships between these lexemes, their etymologies, and frequency can provide a detailed, integrative account of metaphorical aspects and conceptual systems related to each spatial orientation. A bottom-up methodology to identify metaphorical usages of spatial lexemes was applied to the Stanford Arabic Corpus. The results list the spatial linguistic metaphors comprising conceptual metaphors and show for each orientation that mapping orientations onto conceptual metaphors is a complicated process, which integrates linguistic and cognitive levels. The cognitive-perceptual and cultural implications of these findings are discussed.