Explore this map of 13 centuries' worth of English metaphors Someone who likes to show off is often referred to as a peacock. (Thinkstock)
Explore this map of 13 centuries' worth of English metaphors
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English is a language rich in metaphor. Take, for example, the many ways that human behavior can be linked with birds. Someone who is fearful is a chicken. A show-off can be called a peacock. And a prideful person can be said to preen. 

But some metaphors are deeply-rooted in the language. Speakers forget they are metaphors at all. 

For instance, to comprehend literally meant "to grasp" in Latin. So reports Libby Brooks for The Guardian. 

Now, to fully appreciate the history of English metaphors, dive into the online Metaphor Map. It was created by researchers at the University of Glasgow. That is in Scotland.
 
The project took three years. Brooks said it is based on data from the university's Historical Thesaurus of English. It also includes words and phrases that have cropped up over 13 centuries. The visualization shows connections between different concepts. Brooks explains:
 
"For example, we describe a "healthy economy" or a "clear argument." We are mapping from one domain of experience that is quite concrete, such as medicine or sight, onto another domain that is rather more abstract. In this case, finance or perception, and thus benefits from metaphorical explanation."
 
And, consider the phrase "cropped up." It links the more concrete domain of plants to the more abstract one of creation or occurrence.
 
For Hyperallergic, Allison Meier offers tips on how to explore the visualization. And she explains how far the project has yet to go. She explains:
 
"A quarter of the project's connections are online with plans for expansion. They include an Old English map. It takes a bit of experimenting with the map to explore its tiered navigation. And the university posted a how-to video as an introduction. It's also recommended that you check out this page showing all the categories completed online with dates and information. And, utilize the timeline view, which makes it easier to pinpoint different eras."
 
The latest blog post explores the bird metaphors mentioned above in greater detail. The timeline view shows that linking light with knowledge (enlighten, for example) dates back to the late 1100s. And linking texture with a foolish person (a clod, a lump) started in the late 1500s.
 
The project is good for more than just curiosity, the principal investigator, Wendy Anderson, told The Guardian.
 
"This helps us to see how our language shapes our understanding. The connections we make between different areas of meaning in English show, to some extent, how we mentally structure our world," she says.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How is the Online Metaphor map a metaphor?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (33)
  • kbeatty-cel
    10/28/2015 - 10:03 a.m.

    The introductory seems like it will tell you what metaphors mean. As you read, you find out that the website tells you where things came from and the time period. There is talk about expansion, but it wasn't specified on what the expanding was. Some things in this article could've been more clear or informational.

  • lacimoly-
    10/28/2015 - 03:06 p.m.

    "this helps us by being able to see how our language shapes our understanding."said the principal investigator,Wendy Anderson. the online metaphor map was created by the researchers at the university of Glasgow.the linking texture of the foolish person started in the 1500's.

    ctq: its an online metaphor map is a metaphor because some metaphors are deeply-rooted in the language.

  • austinooly-
    11/05/2015 - 01:13 p.m.

    I

  • austinooly-
    11/05/2015 - 01:16 p.m.

    I think it is cool how many metaphors there are and that we can put them online for everyone to see. And to find out what they mean.

  • dylansoly-
    11/05/2015 - 01:17 p.m.

    It is so cool that English is taken so far of a turn
    it is so complex
    someone likes to show off a peacoak

  • allanajoly-
    11/20/2015 - 01:29 p.m.

    this is basically about these people trying to get rid of medicene and replace it with vizalazation stuff

  • annasioly-
    11/20/2015 - 02:10 p.m.

    This is an interesting article about the many English metaphors. The University of Glasgow created a project on them going back 13 centuries.
    CTQ
    The site isn't really a map.

  • annasioly-
    11/20/2015 - 02:14 p.m.

    This is an interesting article about the many English metaphors. The University of Glasgow created a project on them going back 13 centuries.
    CTQ
    The site isn't a map.

  • petrospoly-
    12/04/2015 - 09:34 a.m.

    So all of this article is about is English Metaphors and their history. Like when they started to be used or made. Some metaphors have been forgotten that they were metaphors.

  • petrospoly-
    12/04/2015 - 09:36 a.m.

    So all of this article is about is English Metaphors and their history. Like when they started to be used or made. Some metaphors have been forgotten that they were metaphors.

    CTQ: Online Metaphor Map is a metaphor because it's described as a map for metaphors or like all the metaphors in existence on a certain site.

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