Metaphorical Expressions with “Sweet” in English and “Ngọt” in Vietnamese

Ho Trinh Quynh Thu, Nguyen Thi Thanh Ha


On the foundation of Conceptual Metaphor Theory and the 4-step metaphor identification procedure by Pragglejaz Group, the paper discovers 87 metaphorical expressions containing the word “sweet” in English, equivalent to “ngọt” in Vietnamese through an investigation into four English and four Vietnamese novels composed in the 20th century. These gustatory expressions are found to be used to describe other senses, including olfaction, audition, vision, and tactition. Besides, the metaphorical expressions with “sweet” and “ngọt” are also employed to talk about emotion and manner. Despite several resemblances between English and Vietnamese metaphorical expressions containing the words “sweet” and “ngọt”, which are shed light upon by the universality of metaphors and human embodied experience, there are some differences in expressing the world via these two words between the two languages that are assigned to distinctive linguistic characteristics in each language.

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