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Do You Really Want to Set Me on Fire, My Love?: The Use of Internal and External “Fire and Heat Metaphors” in some Rock Lyrics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2006 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study has been to investigate whether metaphors in terms of fire and heat in rock lyrics can be interpreted figuratively as well as literally. The terms for these latter two categories are internal and external metaphors.

Many rock lyrics are about love, a theme often described with the use of metaphors. One common type of metaphorisation for describing love is to use what in this study has been called “fire and heat metaphors”. These are metaphors that as their source use FIRE and HEAT/WARMTH and map some of these qualities on to the metaphorical target LOVE, which results in metaphorical constructions like I am on fire.

Internal and external metaphors are terms coined by Alm-Arvius (2003:78) and they serve the purpose of separating the metaphors that cannot be taken literally from those that can also be given a literal meaning in another context. The main aim of this study has been to investigate whether a set of chosen metaphorical constructions taken from different rock songs can also be interpreted literally in relation to another universe of discourse. Moreover, the semantic and syntactic structures of the metaphor examples have been outlined, and some theories why the constructions should be regarded as internal or external metaphors have been presented.

A number of related underlying cognitive structures (conceptual metaphors) were identified in this study, and (BEING IN) LOVE IS (EXPERIENCING) HEAT/WARMTH is a structure that allows external metaphorical constructions. Some cognitive scientists see this cognitive structure as metonymy. However, it seems more adequate to connect it to the occurrence of external metaphors, since the language constructions relating to it can be literal as well as figurative. However, the distinction between internal and external metaphors is not always clear, it is difficult to make a clear distinction. Therefore, a continuum has been presented in this study which shows both the distinction and the occasional overlap between the categories of internal and external metaphors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. , 37 p.
Keyword [en]
Fire and heat metaphor, internal metaphor, external metaphor, underlying cognitive structure, conceptual metaphor, target, source, continuum, universe of discourse
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1360OAI: diva2:189954
Available from: 2006-11-15 Created: 2006-11-15Bibliographically approved

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