n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Konteks : 'n metafoorskeppende veranderlike : research article

Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
  • E-ISSN: 2219-8237



When the new South African Constitution was adopted on 8 May 1996, theformer Deputy President Thabo Mbeki - president since June 1999 - madea statement on behalf of the ANC. In his address he used the expression "Iam an African" in an extraordinary way: to promote the idea of a "rainbownation". From a cognitive linguistic view this article analyses the developmentof the metaphor status of this specific expression against thebackground of relevant contextual variables. It is argued that the speechcontext functions in various ways: it filters information from differentconceptual experience domains; it explicates the generic space to somedegree, contrary to its customary role in the creation of a metaphor, inwhich case the generic space functions at a low level of description; and assuch it links the source and target domains of the relevant metaphoricexpression. Although the expression "I am an African" reveals a characteristicmetaphorical structure, cross-domain mapping in this instance takesan opposite route due to the fact that this expression acquires its metaphoricalfeatures at deep-rooted levels of conceptual blending, instigatedby the specific speech context.

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