A bit up and down – describing emotion with metaphors of height

by Liz Walter
Metaphor is when we use the word for one thing to describe the characteristics of another. For example, if we say ‘This city is a jungle’, we mean that the city is a wild and dangerous place.

That is a clear and obvious example of metaphor, but there are metaphorical ideas that are so common in our language that we hardly notice them. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson wrote about this in their famous book Metaphors We Live By. They say that these ideas are so much a part of our language that they actually affect the way we think and behave.

In this blog I want to look at one example – using words connected with height to describe happiness and depth to describe sadness. Lakoff and Johnson call this an orientational metaphor, meaning that it describes position in space. Continue reading “A bit up and down – describing emotion with metaphors of height”