Women, fire, and dangerous things

SnakI Survived the Great Vowel Shift

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Women, fire, and dangerous things

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Redigeret: feb 9, 2009, 9:17am

After nine months (!) of dutiful lunchtime reading, I finally finished George Lakoff's Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. I found it pretty slow in parts because I don't have much of a background in formal logic, but overall I thought it was fascinating and well worth the read. (I always had a lot of trouble memorizing word gender in foreign languages, and this book makes me think I've been going about it in the wrong way.)

Has anyone else read it or anything else by Lakoff?

feb 9, 2009, 9:38am

Metaphors we Live by

feb 9, 2009, 12:37pm

Oh, I've added Metaphors We Live By to my "to read" list, because it sounded interesting. What did you think of it?

mar 19, 2009, 8:21am

There is one passage in it that especially "hooked" me on Lakoff's "credentials": during one of his classes a middle eastern student suggested that "solution" could actually be a metaphor in itself.

mar 21, 2009, 6:51pm

I believe that Metaphors We Live By is fairly outdated. It was written just as George Lakoff and Mark Johnson began studying conceptual metaphors, and it spends a lot of time on ideas which didn't pan out.

A better place to start is Lakoff's article The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor. It dates from 1992, but it summarizes all the important ideas in the original book plus many new and interesting discoveries. You can find it in Andrew Ortony's anthology Metaphor and Thought (2nd edition), but it's also available free at the link I posted earlier in the paragraph.

mar 24, 2009, 9:37am

Thanks for the tip!

aug 24, 2009, 1:04pm

Well you may be right, but it is an interesting read anyway. I find that when I worked with this stuff (that is 5-15 years ago) it gradually changed from some eye-opening new ideas to a dogmatic theory, which could not carry the weight people were trying to have it.

I can still recommend 'Metaphors We Live By', as a short book that will change how you experience language and thought, and 'Women, Fire ..' as a more scholarly presentation of the view of the world behind it.