Metaphors of Love in Late 20th Century English Songs

Author: Nguyen Thi Hong Thu (Hanoi Law University, Vietnam)
Speaker: Nguyen Thi Hong Thu
Topic: Cognitive Anthropology and Language
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


Understanding metaphors is central to comprehending figurative language. Metaphors redescribe author intentions, and hence in ways other than a literal style. They can broaden or shed new light on familiar or conventional subjects. Concurrently, metaphors create more specific and clearer visual images of writer intentions. Through love songs, metaphor assumes greater agency, becoming an effective device. Through love songs, metaphors can be understood and studied interestingly and effectively.

This study aims to elicit and discuss distinctive linguistic features of metaphors, and to interpret the metaphorical images of love in songs, as they are perceived by Eastern audiences. For this, the study employs documentary analysis combined with the descriptive, qualitative and quantitative approaches. In addition to this, inductive analytic and description are employed. The study builds on enquiries such as the following: What are the typical metaphorical images of love in late 20th century English love songs? How are the metaphorical images of love expressed in the love songs? What is the rhetorical value of the metaphorical images in the selected songs?

The study draws from a sample set of 68 popular English love songs of the late 20th century, produced in the west, and hence from artists such as The Carpenters, The Beatles, Holly Knight, Blink, and Amy Wine House. Metaphors are divided into various categories, so to analyze the songs and their metaphors. In this model, conceptual metaphors are classified into three different types; structural metaphors, ontological metaphors, and orientational metaphors. Following this, the framework categorizes the metaphors through semantic similarity and difference. The study then suggests ways metaphors are perceived by Asian audiences, and the reappropriation of these categories by the Asian audiences, by discussing the rhetorical value of the metaphorical images.

Keywords: Metaphor, Love, Songs, Linguistic, Cognitive Perspectives