Translation Studies 2020

Olha Vusatiuk

Kamianets-Podilskyi Ivan Ohiienko National University

Scientific Supervisor: Matkovska M. V.


This paper is devoted to the pragmatic analysis of metaphors. Attention is focused on metaphor, as a means of expressing author’s assessments and emotions, subjective characteristics of objects and phenomena. The author examines the linguistic means that are used for realization of pragmatic and semantic functions of metaphors in the English translation of  L. Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” by C. Garnett.

Key words: semantics, pragmatics, metaphor, communicative behavior, category.

The concept of “metaphor” (translated from Greek – transference) has been known to science since ancient times. However, the issue of determining this language figure to this day is controversial in a number of points. Many linguistic scientists (D.E. Rosenthal, M.A. Telenkova, V.I. Kodukhov, E.I. Dibrova, etc.) rightly believed that a metaphor is the transfer of the properties of one object, phenomenon or aspect of being to another according to the principle their similarities in any respect [1, p. 246].

V.A. Maslova identifies this phenomenon as reflection and representation of some words from others. [7, p. 27].

According to J. Lakoff and M. Johnson, a metaphor is an understanding and experience of the essence of one kind in terms of the essence of another kind [6, p. 27].

  1. Black distinguishes three main points of view on the metaphor. He calls them a substitution view of metaphor, which includes any theories that a metaphorical expression is always used instead of a literal equivalent; a comparison view that underlies the metaphor of similarities or analogies between objects and interaction view, which involves the interaction of two subjects in the process of metaphorization [2, p.157].

M.S. Labashchuk believes that metaphor is a universal method of cognition, both in scientific and in literary discourse. [5, p.214]

A.A. Zalevska claims, that a metaphor is not just a transfer from one means of concept to another, but “a very complicated and thought-provoking process of metaphorization, which includes a recognition mechanism focused on the search for familiar source elements”. Supporting the scientist’s opinion as a whole, we can clarify that the process of metaphorization is a certain synthesis of interacting components of a person’s perceptual, cognitive, emotional, evaluative and verbal experience, which establishes deep connections between predicates and operates on the knowledge already gained [ 3, p.149 ].

It is known that the metaphor is not only a resource of figurative speech, but also a source of new meanings of words. This is a very productive means of creating expressiveness and imagery of a literary text, significantly enhancing the visibility and clarity of the depicted. The metaphor, as a means of expressing author’s assessments and emotions, subjective characteristics of objects and phenomena, performs figurative aesthetic functions of personification, comparison and riddle in the text. A metaphor is a tool to increase the accuracy of poetic speech and its emotional expressiveness. For example, in the sentence: “And the candle, in which she read a book full of anxieties, deceits, grief and evil, flashed more brightly than ever before, illuminated her everything that had been in darkness, cracked, began to fade and went out forever” [8].– with the help of a detailed metaphor, the author of a literary word not only creates a vivid image, but also evaluates a woman’s love and her whole life as something painful, violent and at the same time thorough. With the help of this metaphor, the author addresses the reader, involving him in the novel, explaining in a condensed form almost the entire contents of his work. The heroine of the novel in this case is presented in the form of a candle, and her life is filled with deception, anxieties, in the joyful moments of her life she burned, flashed a bright light, and in moments of bitterness she died and went out forever.

Thus, the metaphor is an integral feature of L.N. Tolstoy and one of the most effective techniques for creating and transmitting the artistic meaning of the novel. In the author`s works, a holistic metaphorical characteristic of a wide palette of emotional states of characters from inspiring joy to a feeling of hopelessness is presented. The pragmatically conditioned metaphor that fulfills the function assigned to it is a vivid and productive imaginative means of verbal influence on the reader, since it works as a guide, reflecting the writer’s worldview to the reader-recipient. Thus, the author personifies the candle, which lives when it burns, and dies when it goes out.

Metaphor in the novel by L.N. Tolstoy is always pragmatically oriented. Linguistic pragmatics, being an area of linguistics that studies the features of the functioning of linguistic signs in speech in the aspect of relations, is focused on the dichotomy “sign – user of a sign” [4 p. 15]. This dichotomy is expected to be reflected at the metaphorical level of the literary text as a figurative reflection of the metaphor to the addressee. Author’s metaphor L.N. Tolstoy is always a point of view, a subjectively colored view of something. At the center of this formula are various language situations in which the person, the object of speech, the character of a work of art is a participant.

In the framework of the pragmatic approach, the purpose of which is the relationship between the external circumstances and the speaker’s internal motives, in the study of a functional metaphor, the main attention should be paid to the analysis of the peculiarities of the influence of the personal qualities of the addressee of the message on the choice of specific language means by the author of an artistic word, taking into account contextual and situational parameters in order to achieve the desired result of speech impact on the recipient in the communication process.

In the sentence: “Smiling and exposing her false teeth, she (Frenchwoman) met him (Levin) as an old friend [8], – the old friend metaphor was used by the author of the novel in the figurative meaning: Levin is 32 at the moment of communication with the Frenchwoman and they are not friends with her, on the contrary, the hatred is hidden behind the communication of two people. The writer functionally focuses on the reader this metaphor, implying that the Frenchwoman wants to look friendly towards Levin, and therefore meets him as a longtime acquaintance. Pragmatic attitudes were not taken into account when using the metaphor: the interlocutors had different cultural backgrounds, ages, different sexes, but the author of the novel understands this and plays with the metaphor and with the reader’s mind.

Thus, the aforesaid allows us to state that the metaphor is a complex phenomenon in the language, being not only an ornament of speech, but also part of a person’s knowledge. In addition, the metaphor allows the author of an artistic word to express the unknown through the familiar, and in order to understand and correctly recognize the metaphor; the writer needs to enhance the reader’s imagination. The rich and inexhaustible potential of the metaphor, its diverse nature can become the subject of further study and systematization of metaphorical functions.


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