Metaphors We Live By

Reviewed on , book by George Lakoff

The main insight here is that we use metaphors constantly, but some are so ingrained we don’t even acknowledge them. For example, “FUTURE IS AHEAD.” We think of the future in front of us, but in some cultures and languages, they use “back” and “behind” to describe the future. We think of “POSITIVE IS UP,” so that if you’re talking about an “upswing” it’s usually a good thing. These metaphors are all around us in what verbs and adverbs we use day-to-day. I was hoping it’d go more into how metaphors stick, develop, and phase out, but it’s largely centered around metaphors that are so ingrained in language that we don’t even explicitly acknowledge them anymore. That wasn’t interesting enough to carry me 300 pages, so I read the first 100 pages or so, and then largely skimmed to see if I could find anything else that stood out. Probably just too nerdy in linguistics for me to be more interesting than a length article.