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Cognitive potential of the metaphor “city as a human being” (on the example of American poetry)

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2019. Vol. 8. No. 4. Pp. 301-308.
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Kholmanskikh Yu. S.
Ural State University of Railway Transport
66 Kolmogorov Street, 620034 Ekaterinburg, Russia


The article considers the conceptual metaphor as an important way of structuring human perception of reality. It aims to analyze the linguistic representations of the ontological conceptual metaphor “city as a human being” and to demonstrate its nominative, cognitive, and sense-forming role. The suggested metaphorical model is built on the language material of the American poetic texts of the 20th century. The article also determines the main intersection points of two conceptual spheres: the source and the target ones. These cognitive intersections include the following similarities: organs of the human body - parts of urban development, stages of human life - evolution of the city, personality itself - a model of the city, and a city itself - a model of its identity (recursive mechanism), main human occupations - sociocultural and economic functions of urban space. The applied methods include metaphorical transfer analysis and semiotic method used on the principle of complementarity. It is stated that metaphorical models, being an element of national mentality, are closely interconnected with the sociocultural conditions of their occurrence and should be interpreted taking into account not only the intentions of the speaker, but also wide intertextual connections.


  • • conceptual metaphor
  • • language representation
  • • metaphorical model
  • • American poetry


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