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Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?: A corpus-based study on the representation of wolves in metaphors in the English language
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

As described by Lakoff and Johnson (1980), conceptual metaphors play a large part in how we understand and perceive the world we live in. Very often human traits are described using animal metaphors (Lawrence, 1993). To gain a better understanding, previous research on animal metaphors was examined and summarised. Few animals have been subject to such fierce public opinion as the wolf. Thus, the main focus of this essay has been to investigate whether such opinions are mirrored in the way that wolves are represented in metaphors.To get a proper overview of the occurrences and representations of wolves in metaphors in the English language of modern times, a corpus search was conducted in the COCA corpus (Davies, 2008-). The results from that search were then classified using the MIPVU-method (Steen et al., 2010) and further analysed to determine normative bias. The results were unanimous with previous research on the subject and in agreement with other studies. The wolf is exclusively used as a representative for less flattering human traits, both regarding physique and personality. It is plausible to conclude that the perception of the wolf as expressed in metaphors are similar to those in legends, fairy tales and stories from times long ago. The continuous usage of negative images associated with wolves maintains the image of the animal as danger and something to be feared.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 17 p.
Keyword [en]
Metaphors, cognitive linguistics, conceptual metaphors, wolves, animal metaphors, corpus analysis
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104645OAI: diva2:724479
Available from: 2014-09-29 Created: 2014-06-12 Last updated: 2014-09-29Bibliographically approved

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Wallin Bååth, Sarah
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Department of English
General Language Studies and Linguistics

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