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Research Mentor and Department
Dr. Brett Kessler
This paper explores the semantic relationship between temperatures and their metaphorical emotional correlates from a cross-linguistic perspective and through the lens of conceptual metaphor theory. This theory predicts these metaphors to be near universals because of their grounding in the universal physiological experience of emotion–driven fluctuations in body temperature. Although the findings in this paper cannot and do not purport to definitively confirm a link between embodied experiences of emotion and the ubiquitous nature of temperature–emotion metaphor, they nevertheless support such a theory. Rather, this paper uses theorisations of embodied experience as a jumping-off point for the exploration of temperature–emotion metaphors as universal. For this reason, once having found these metaphors to be likely near universals, the focus of this paper will be the semantic relationships between emotions and the temperatures they are mapped onto rather than speculation as to the origin of such mappings.