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HTS Theological Studies

On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422

Abstract

BOSMAN, Nerina. The cup as metaphor and symbol: A cognitive linguistics perspective. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2019, vol.75, n.3, pp.1-8. ISSN 2072-8050.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i3.5338.

Although the Afrikaans word beker carries strong religious and other connotations, among them references to the Eucharist cup, the contribution of this article is to highlight, within a cognitive semantics framework, the role that cognitive mechanisms such as metaphor and metonymy played in the creation of this symbol. The article aims to illustrate the following: that the two signs of the Christian Eucharist, the bread and the wine, are grounded in conceptual metaphors of eating and drinking; that two conceptual drink metaphors are present when the symbol of the cup is analysed; that a related concept, that of metonymy, acts as a cognitive trigger, thus enabling the realisation of the symbol; and that other factors such as culture and religious symbolism played a significant role in the whole process. A corpus linguistics methodology is used to identify expressions containing the word beker. In analysing the expressions, Conceptual Metaphor Theory is used as a theoretical framework. It is found that conceptual metaphors such as nourishment is drinking and suffering is drinking underlie metaphoric expressions with beker. The metonymy container [the cup] for contained [the wine or blood] plays an important role in enabling the metaphors. In the images of the Eucharist cup and the broken bread, powerful metaphors arising from our bodily experience, denoting suffering and death on the one hand, and joy, nourishment and life on the other hand, are united to form the symbol.

Keywords : Cup; Metaphor; Metonymy; Cognitive Semantics; Symbol; Conceptual metaphor theory; Eucharist; Wine; Blood.

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