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    #1

    Concpetual metaphor

    "American confidence has fallen to its low ebb."

    In the above sentence, the conceptual metaphor is

    CONFIDENCE IS TIDE, so it has a low or high ebb. Can we find an even more abstract conceptual metaphor, that is, to find something more generic than "confidence", and more generic than "tide"? I can use emotion or feeling to be the more abstract replacement of "confidence", but what is the thing that is more abstract than "tide", which also has high and low points? something vertical?

    I know I am making it too technical, as I am using George Lakoff's conceptual metapor theory. Anyone who can help? Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by ian2; 17-May-2008 at 17:16.

  1. #2

    Re: Concpetual metaphor

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    "American confidence has fallen to its low ebb."

    In the above sentence, the conceptual metaphor is

    CONFIDENCE IS TIDE, so it has a low or high ebb. Can we find an even more abstract conceptual metaphor, that is, to find something more generic than "confidence", and more generic than "tide"? I can use emotion or feeling to be the more abstract replacement of "confidence", but what is the thing that is more abstract than "tide", which also has high and low points? something vertical?

    I know I am making it to technical, as I am using George Lakoff's conceptual metapor theory. Anyone who can help? Thanks in advance.
    I have no idea, perhaps because you are making it TOO technical. I wanted only to point out that the expression is 'fallen to its LOWEST ebb'.

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    #3

    Re: Concpetual metaphor

    Quote Originally Posted by fromatto View Post
    I have no idea, perhaps because you are making it TOO technical. I wanted only to point out that the expression is 'fallen to its LOWEST ebb'.
    The sentence is directly quoted from Christopher Lasch's "Culture of Narcissism".

  2. #4

    Re: Concpetual metaphor

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    The sentence is directly quoted from Christopher Lasch's "Culture of Narcissism".
    Well, he has his own idiosyncratic use of English.

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    #5

    Re: Concpetual metaphor

    Quote Originally Posted by fromatto View Post
    Well, he has his own idiosyncratic use of English.
    This is not to contradict you, but I just checked the British National Corpus and also the Google search and found many more returns of the Low ebb than lowest ebb. So can we say at least that both are used?

  3. #6

    Re: Concpetual metaphor

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    This is not to contradict you, but I just checked the British National Corpus and also the Google search and found many more returns of the Low ebb than lowest ebb. So can we say at least that both are used?
    'To ebb' is to flow from a higher point to a lower point. Thus ebbs are always low. One can be at 'a low ebb' and this means to be weaker than normal. However, this is not what Lasch has said. He has said, 'American confidence has fallen to its low ebb'. 'Its' is possessive, in other words American confidence possesses a low ebb and it has fallen to that point.

    I am quite sure that this is not what he wants to say. First of all, American confidence does not possess 'a low ebb'. All ebbs are low and one cannot know the low point of an ebb until it is reached. I am sure that he wants to stress that the point the ebb has reached is 'its lowest yet', in other words he should say, 'American confidence has reached its lowest ebb' as this includes the possibility that it might fall even further. Authority he might be, but his statement needs a superlative to make sense.
    Last edited by fromatto; 20-May-2008 at 13:36. Reason: clarification

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    #7

    Re: Concpetual metaphor

    Quote Originally Posted by fromatto View Post
    'To ebb' is to flow from a higher point to a lower point. Thus ebbs are always low. One can be at 'a low ebb' and this means to be weaker than normal. However, this is not what Lasch has said. He has said, 'American confidence has fallen to its low ebb'. 'Its' is possessive, in other words American confidence possesses a low ebb and it has fallen to that point.

    I am quite sure that this is not what he wants to say. First of all, American confidence does not possess 'a low ebb'. All ebbs are low and one cannot know the low point of an ebb until it is reached. I am sure that he wants to stress that the point the ebb has reached is 'its lowest yet', in other words he should say, 'American confidence has reached its lowest ebb' as this includes the possibility that it might fall even further. Authority he might be, but his statement needs a superlative to make sense.
    Excellent analysis! Thanks a lot.

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