Cognitive linguistics is a new field of modern linguistics. It
opens the door to language understanding based on human’s experiences and
knowledge about the world as well as how people conceptualize and categorize
In Vietnam, linguists perceive this new linguistics
theory and there are also many studies about cognitive linguistics in general
and cognitive metaphor in particular. As
professor Toan Thang Ly (2009) figured out in his research “Cognitive linguistics, from general theory to
Vietnamese practice” some
basic cognitive linguistics situations and do research related to metaphor such
as “Study about
conceptualizations of in-out, up-down and semantics presenting aspect” or
“Semantics feature of
“plant” and categorization of Vietnamese rural plants”. Much
noticeable is his ideas of cognitive metaphor shaped from foreign linguists’
opinions. He mentioned that from the view of cognition, conceptual metaphor is
the movement of the conceptual source domain into the target domain.
linguists try to come up with the ideas about conceptual metaphor through their studies. George Lakoff
and Mark Johnson- father of the theory conceptual metaphor, introduced this
term for the first time in their work: Metaphor
We Live By (1980). In their work, they defined conceptual metaphor as the
way we understand one conceptual domain in term of another based on parallel
points. Conceptual metaphor has influence on how we think, speak and how we act,
also. With conceptual metaphor, people can go into the essence of metaphor
world. In which, metaphor is widened in term of mentality instead of being
rigid with linguistics rules.
To catch the real meaning of a sentence/ speech, we
should take notice of the two very important concepts in conceptual metaphor.
They are Source domain and Target domain.
The Target domain is what we try to understand, which is
often abstract, difficult to understand.
(fear, love, anger: she’s bursting with joy), thought (I see your
point), nation (the illness of the
The Source domain is what we use to understand the target
body (the heart of the city/problem), physical
health (a healthy society), plants (the root of the plan), building
(the foundation of his idea), etc.
To make it clearer, we now go into an example of Conceptual
metaphor: “Love is a journey”. In this sentence, the source domain is the
“journey”- which we use to understand the target domain “love”. When we consist
all the elements of a journey, we can better understand the term love. It is
conceptual domain “journey” that we use to talk about conceptual domain “love”
by using a system called Mapping to connect these two concepts. For instance,
when we talk about “love is a journey”, we find out that there is a system of
correspondences between them.
in the relationship
of the relationship
We can also say that the concept of journey creates the
concept of love. We understand the meaning of conceptual metaphor due to
understand the mapping between the two domains
Business and War:
According to Oxford dictionary (9th ed.), Business is defined as “the activity of
making, buying, selling, supplying goods or services for money” and War as “a situation in which two or more
countries or groups of people fight again each other over a period of time”
What are the elements to build up the concept War? After
considering these factors, we can compare it with the concept Business to
explain why people say Business is War. The Source
domain “War” is a combination of many other basic domains such as goal,
opponent, weapon, success, and so on. A business is considered as a war due to
these similarities presented in a systematic mapping. Below are some suggested factors:
The first element is GOAL. In a war, each person/ team/ nation/ etc.
always need to set a goal. It may be to vie with enemy for your nation’s
independence and freedom or a fight for national liberation. A war without purpose(s)
is an unjust war. It is the same for concept “Business”. In a business, tradesmen
always have their own aim(s) in a commercial transaction which finally bring
about profits for themselves. Businessmen must know what do they and customers want
The second factor is OPPONENTS. In a war, there are two or more sides
which is always oppose to one another. It can not be a war if lacking opponents
since war is a conflict between two sides. Without adversaries, who will we
fight against? In Business, we also need rivals to make a competition. When you
invest in a certain business, there are many other people who have invested in
the same business and willing to earn profits from it too. Actually, we gain
benefits from our opponents, trying to take the lead in every situation.
The third component is “TOOL”. In war, we really need weapons (guns, bullets,
bombs, tanks, etc.), tactics and soldiers to win. Just like using weapons in the
battle, while you are in a business transaction, you seriously need to have good
skills, intelligence, human resource, services, etc. in order to vanquish your
rivals and achieve your goal(s).
The fourth one is CHEAT. In a war, you need some ruse so as to defeat your
enemy. It is the same situation in business. Sometimes business ask you to make
guile but only when it is necessary. You cannot always be fair in business otherwise
you will lose.
The last but not least, it is SUCCESS AND FAILURE. These two are integral
in any war and business. No one has the victory at the first time. Go through
many battles to win the victory, take the ideal lands as the goal set. Businessmen
also have to lose in many deal to become successful and finally achieve the
goal of holding a large market share for years.