Cinematography “sans Frontières.” International Cultural Metaphors and Commonplaces in the Romanian Cinema Terminology

Author Information

Melania Roibu,
University of Bucharest, Romania

Helga-Iuliana Bogdan Oprea,
University of Bucharest, Romania

DOI: 10.47298/comela22.7-1
The GLOCAL Proceedings:  The GLOCAL Conference in the Mediterranean and Europe 2022


The paper deals with cultural conceptualisations of events as they are reflected in the cinematic lexicon. Three main goals are followed throughout the paper: 1) to emphasize that the cinema-related vocabulary involves the same concepts when it denotes extra-linguistic realities specific to the world of film; 2) to illustrate the shift from culture specific, to cross-cultural events (and vice versa), and 3) to indicate that the cinematic lexicon metonymically reflects these complementary moves (globalisation / localisation).

In order to achieve these goals, we adopt the analytical tools of Cultural Linguistics, with an emphasis on cultural metaphors. We investigate the relationship between cultural conceptualisations and commonplaces, and reach the conclusion that patterns of thought trigger patterns of language, many of which are cross-cultural, as indicated by the fact that the structures used to convey such shared blocks of knowledge in different languages display either formal resemblance or shared semantic content. Another conclusion is that the cultural conceptualisations within the cinematic field are closely connected with the Oscar Awards Ceremony, which has become a landmark in the film industry, and is often replicated in other international film galas, exceeding the borders of a given culture as a result of multiculturalism and globalisation. ‘Localisation’ (the shift from cross-cultural to culture-specific events) is also possible. Yet, it should be regarded as an exception, since cinema illustrates interferences and identities which, from a cultural perspective, are common to geographic spaces that are located at significant distance from one another.

Keywords: Cinematic lexicon, commonplace, cultural categories, cultural metaphors, cultural schemas


Cameron, L. (1999). Operationalising ‘Metaphor’ for Applied Linguistic Research. In L. Cameron and G. Low (eds.), Researching and Applying Metaphor (pp. 3-28). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gabler, N. (1998). Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality. New York: Vintage Books.
Ilie, C. and Hellspong, L. (1999).  Arguing from Clichés: Communication and Miscommunication. In Frans van Eemeren, Rob Grootendorst, J. Anthony Blair, and Ch. A. Willard (eds.), Proceedings of the fourth international conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, pp. 386-392, Fourth International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, June 16-19, 1998.
Kővecses, Z. (2006). Language, Mind and Culture. A Practical Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Levy, E. (2003). All about Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards. New York: Continuum.
Palmer, G. (1996). Toward a Theory of Cultural Linguistics. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Redfern, W. (1989). Clichés and Coinages. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Semino, E. (2008). Metaphor in Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sharifian, F. (2017a). Cultural Linguistics. Ethnolinguistic, 28, pp. 33–59.
Sharifian, F. (2017b). Cultural Linguistics. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publisihing Company.
The Oxford English Dictionary (1989). 2nd ed. (J.A. Simpson and E.S.C. Weiner (eds.)). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Turner, M. (1996). The Literary Mind, New York, Oxford University Press.

Full COMELA 2022 Proceedings book