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Lakoff, G. & Kovecses, Z. (1987) Chapter 8: The cognitive model of anger inherent in American English. In Cultural Models in Language and Thought, Holland, D. & Quinn, N. (eds.)

Author of the summary: Debajyoti Pati, 2000, gte811q@prism.gatech.edu

Emotions, like anger, are generally considered as devoid of conceptual content. The authors, in this article, argue that anger does have a complex conceptual structure. Using several metaphor and metonymies to the notion of anger, as held in the American society, they converge at a point where a prototypical scenario of anger could be developed. This scenario, having five stages (offending event, anger, attempt to control, loss of control, and act of retribution) they demonstrate that most of the conceptual metaphors could be mapped on to parts of the prototype scenario. In addition, this also shows that the various metaphors are related to one another, and function together towards characterizing a single concept.

This prototypical model is flexible enough to explain various non prototypical cases which cluster about the former model. They argue that other than manipulative use of anger (for which they could provide no name), almost all other cases fit into the model. They highlight, however, that there exists no single cognitive model of anger. Rather, the prototypical model occupies a central position in a range of categories of cognitive models. The various kinds of anger are variants of a common prototype model, and they bear family resemblance to one another.

Finally, they argue that this rich conceptual structure of anger must hold true in case of other languages in the world.

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Last modified: Wed Apr 26 11:26:24 EDT 2000