Conceptual Metaphors of FEAR in Persian and English: A Cognitive and Corpus-based Approach

  • Azita Afrashi Associate Professor of Linguistics, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies,Tehran, Iran. دانشیار زبانشناسی همگانی- عضو هیأت علمی پژوهشگاه علوم انسانی و مطالعات فرهنگی
  • Bita Ghouchani M.A in General Linguistics, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies


This paper attempts to investigate and compare the conceptual metaphors of FEAR in Persian and English. FEAR is one of the basic emotions, conceptualization of which shows both similarities and variations in different languages. Investigating features of conceptualization is an essential part of the semantics of emotions. The cross-linguistic analysis of the concept of FEAR is based on the Conceptual Metaphor Theory put forward by Lakoff (1987) and the extensions of this theory provided by Kövecses (2002). We have attempted to compare and contrast FEAR metaphors and elaborate on some cultural and language-specific aspects in the two languages. We adopted a corpus-based method to gather the metaphorical expressions and then to extract the name of the mappings. We compared and contrasted these name of the mappings, and identified the commonalities and differences. Certain source domain concepts such as human, motion verbs, animals, and colors were explained in detail. 

Author Biography

Bita Ghouchani, M.A in General Linguistics, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies
M.A in General Linguistics, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies


Afrashi, A. and M. Moghimizadeh. (2015). Conceptual metaphors of shame in Persian classic poetry, Journal of Zabanshenakht, Tehran, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Vol. 5, No. 10, pp. 1-20.

Allan, K. (2008). Metaphor and metonymy: A diachronic approach. Publications of the Philological Society, 42, Wiley- Blackwell.

Ansah, G. (2010). The cultural basis of conceptual metaphors: The case of emotions in Akan and English. Papers from the Lancaster University Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics & Language Teaching, pp. 2-25.

Ansah, G. (2014). Cultural in embodied cognition: Metaphorical/Metonymic conceptualization of fear in Akan and English. Journal of Metaphor & Symbol, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 44-58.

Apresjan, V. (1997). Emotion metaphors and cross-linguistic conceptualization of emotions, Cuadernos de Filologia Inglesa. Vol. 6, No.12. 179-195.

Chen, P. (2010). A cognitive study of happiness metaphors in English and Chinese idioms, in Asian culture and history, 2(2), Canada: Canadian Center of Science and Education.

Dehdashti, F. (2017). Conceptual metaphors of enmity in Persian language: A cognitive and corpus-based approach, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, M. A. Thesis.

Esonava, O. (2011). Metaphorical conceptualization of anger, fear & sadness in English, Ph. D. Dissertation, Budapest: Eotvoslorand University, Faculty of Humanities.

Evans, V. and M. Green. (2006). Cognitive linguistics: An introduction. Edinburg: Edinburgh University Press.

Fillmore, C. (2005). Frame, Net. (2005-05-023).

Geeraerts, D. and H. Cuyckens. (Eds) (2007). The oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics. Oxford University Press.

Geertz, C. (1975). The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays. London.

Ghouchani, B.; Afrashi, A. and Assi, S. M. (2016). Conceptual metaphors of fear in Persian language: A cognitive and corpus-based approach, the 1st Conference of Cognitive Semantics, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.

Gulz, A. (1992). Conceptions of anger and grief in the Japanese, Swedish, and American cultures–the role of metaphor in conceptual processes, Lund University Cognitive Studies, No. 7, pp. 1-16.

Javid, S. (2017). Conceptual metaphors of sadness in Persian language: A cognitive and corpus-based approach, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, M. A. Thesis.

Johnson, M. (2005). The philosophical significance of image schemas. B. Hampe and J. E. Grady, Eds from Perception to Meaning. Image Schemas in Cognitive Linguistics, pp. 15-33. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Joulayi, K.; Afrashi, A. and Assi, S. M. (2016). Conceptual metaphors in Persian language: A cognitive and corpus-based approach. Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, M. A. Thesis.

Karimi, V. (2012). Conceptual metaphor of pain in Ilam Kurdish: A cognitive semantic approach, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, M. A. Thesis.

Kövecses, Z. (1991). Emotion concepts. New York: Springer Verlag.

Kövecses, Z. (2000). Metaphor and emotion: Language, culture, and body in human feeling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kövecses, Z. (2002). Metaphor: A practical introduction, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Kövecses, Z. (2005). Metaphor in culture: Universality and variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kövecses, Z. (2015). Where metaphors come from? Oxford University Press.

Lakoff, G. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Lakoff, G. and Kövecses, Z. (1987). The cognitive model of anger inherent in American English, in D. Holland and N. Quinn (Eds.), Cultural Models in Language and Thought, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 195-221.

Lakoff, G. (1993). The contemporary theory of metaphor. In A. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and Thought (2nd Ed,); Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Lin-ying, Z. (2012). A comparative study of English and Chinese fear metaphors from the perspective of cognition, Journal of Mudanjiang Normal University.

Maalej, Z. (2007). The embodiment of Fear expressions in Tunisian Arabic; theoretical and practical implications, in F. Sharifian and G. Palmer (Eds). Applied Cultural Linguistics: Implications for SL Learning and Intercultural Communication, pp. 87-104.

Malekian, M. (2012). Emotion conceptual metaphors in everyday language of the city of Tehran, M. A. Thesis, Tehran: Alzahra University.

Matsuki, K. (1995). Metaphors of anger in Japanese, in Taylor JR, MacLaury RE (Eds): Language and the Cognitive Construal of the World. Berlin, de Gruyter, pp. 137–151.

Moloudi, A and Karimi Doostan, Gh. (2017). A corpus-based approach to cognitive metaphors in Persian: The study of fear target domain. Language Art, 2(4): pp.7-40, 2017, Shiraz, Iran.

Oster, U. (2012). Angst and fear in contrast: A corpus-based analysis of emotion concepts in cognitive linguistics between universality and variation, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Pirzad, Sh.; Pazhakd, A. and Hayati, A. (2012). A comparative study on basic emotion conceptual metaphors in English and Persian literary texts. International Education Studies, 5(1), 200-207.

Retova, D. (2008). Analysis of conceptual metaphors of selected emotions in Slovac language, Univerzita Komenskego v Bratislave, Fadulta Matematiky, Fysiky a informatiky.

Rouhi, M. (2008). Emotion conceptual metaphors of Persian language, M. A. Thesis, Hamedan: Bu-Ali Sina University.

Sandford, J. (2014). Turn a color with emotion: A linguistic construction of color in English. Journal of the International Color Association, Vol. 13, 67-83. University of Perugia, Italy, Department of Humanities.

Sandstrüm, K. (2006). When motion becomes emotion: A study of emotion metaphors derived from motion verbs. Linguistics in the Midnight Sun. Report No.3, Lulea University of Technology, Department of Language and Culture.

Servyde, R. (2006). Facing fear: A corpus-based approach to fear metaphors in English and Lithuanian. Man and Work, 8(3), pp. 81-88.

Sharafzadeh, M. and Zare, A. (2014). Cognitive review of metaphorical concept of fear in Persian. The 8th International Iranian Conference on Linguistics, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, pp. 400-407.

Sharifian, F. & et al. (Eds). (2008). Culture, body, and language: Conceptualizations of internal body organs across cultures and languages. Berlin/ New York: Mouton DeGruyter.

Sorahi, M. (2012). Contrastive analysis of metaphors in Persian and English according to conceptual metaphor approach, Isfahan University, Ph. D. Dissertation.

Soriono, C. (2003). Some anger metaphors in Spanish and English: A contrastive review. International Journal of English studied, Vol .3, No. 2, pp. 107-122.

Tabari, F. and Afrashi, A. (2016). Conceptual metaphors of anger in Persian: A cognitive and corpus-based approach, The 1st Conference of Verbal Violence, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.

Talmy, L. (2000). A cognitive semantics. Vol. 2, Cambridge: MIT Press.

Tissari, H. (2008). On the concept of sadness: Looking at words in contexts derived from corpora. Corpus Linguistics, Computer Tools, and Applications: State of the Art, ed. by Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 291-308.

Türker, E. (2013). Corpus-based approach to emotion metaphors in Korean: A case study of anger, happiness, and sadness. Review of Cognitive Linguistics, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 73-144.

Weiguan, D. and Jinglin, M. (2008). A contrastive analysis of fear metaphors between English and Chinese, Journal of Taizhon Uuniversity.

Wierzbicka, A. (1985). Lexicography and conceptual analysis, Ann Arbor: Karoma.

Wierzbicka, A. (1996). Semantics: primes and universals. Oxford University Press. UK.

Yu, N. (1995). Metaphorical expression of anger and happiness in English and Chinese. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity, 10(2), pp. 59-92.

Zoorvarz, M.; Afrashi, A. and Assi, S. M. (2013). Conceptual metaphors of happiness and pleasure in Persian: A cognitive semantic and a corpus-driven approach, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, M. A. Thesis.