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Conceptual Metaphors and Metonyms in Love Pop Songs. Research Paper

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Updated: May 14th, 2019


The notion of conceptual metaphor is one that deals with understanding of one concept in terms of another within the same conceptual domain. According to Evans & Green (2006), it is an important aspect of cognitive linguistic, which has been in existence for a long time. The two entities used are source, also known as the vehicle and the target.

A more familiar concept is used as a source in order to help in the understanding of a target. A conceptual mapping is a concept that is present whenever there is the use of conceptual metaphor. Through the use of this concept, the metaphor is understood better and meaning of the source and target is easily understood. Conceptual metaphors are also understood in terms of bodily experience.

The conceptual metaphor theory is useful in the understanding of the vital components of a conceptual metaphor. Unidirectionality of the metaphor, metaphorical entailments, the invariance principle and metaphor system, are the components of the conceptual metaphors theory.

Three types of conceptual metaphors have been identified. They include: structural, orientational and ontological metaphors. The paper also notes that conceptual metaphors are used in people’s daily lives and in their everyday conversations.

Metonymy is a linguistic concept whereby one concept is used in place of another. This makes it easier for someone to understand the idea that is being communicated. Metonymy can be understood as a cognitive and also as a conceptual domain. It can also be understood in terms of its scope of operation and the different types.


In traditional grammar, a metaphor is a tool in the rhetoric which entails a direct comparison of two things without the use of comparison words such as ‘like’ or ‘as’. Metaphors are common in the language spoken by people when carrying out their daily chores.

Conceptual metaphor is a concept in the cognitive linguistics, which deals with understanding of a certain concept through the use of another more familiar concept (Kövecses, 2002). This helps one to have a deeper and clearer understanding of the idea that the person is trying to understand. One of the most common human emotions that are understood in terms of conceptual metaphors is love.

Most of the times, love is used as the abstract target that is linked to a concrete source, for instance, a container. This is evidenced by the many conceptual metaphors that are used by people when talking about love. For example, people who love each other tend to refer to their relationship as being in love. It is therefore possible to infer from such expressions the conceptual metaphor that ‘RELATIONSHIPS ARE CONTAINERS’.

In such a case, the association between love that exists between lovers and a container is depicted. Moreover, the correspondence between people in love and the contents of a container is also depicted. There are a number of love-related expressions that are commonly used, which show clearly this correspondence. For example, when people are in a love relationship, they tend to use the expression that they are in love.

However, if something happens and they terminate the relationship, it is common to hear people say that they have fallen out of love. Again, people who feel that they would like to move out of a relationship but they are not able to do so may refer to their situation as being trapped in the relationship.

It is also common for people to use love related expressions, which validate the conceptual metaphor that LOVE IS A JOURNEY. In this expression, lovers are associated with travelers whereas their love relationship is associated with the various modes of transport. The problems encountered in love relationships correspond with difficulties that one may encounter while traveling from one point to another.

Typically, a traveler’s journey may involve encountering bumps along the way of other unforeseen problems, such as a puncture or shortage of fuel. Some of the expressions that are commonly used and that help to validate the conceptual metaphor that love is a journey include: their relationship is at a crossroads.

This is used by people who do not know what to do because their relationship seems to have major problems, which they do not know how to solve. Again, people are fond of saying that love is a two-way street or using the expression that they went their separate ways, whenever a relationship between two people breaks.

The main assumption is that a conceptual metaphor is more of a thought system concept than a linguistic concept. The metaphorical language that is used as an everyday language seems to have a close relationship with a fundamental metaphor system.

The metaphor system is viewed as a system of thought. When using a conceptual metaphor, not all conceptual domains are applicable in the description of one item in terms of another similar one

Metonymy is also a linguistic aspect that has some relationship with metaphors. This is because; both conceptual metaphors and metonymy are linguistic aspects that important in language and cognition of concepts in the English language. However, there are some major differences that exist between conceptual metaphors and metonymy.

Contrary to the way conceptual metaphors use two domains of experience in order for the concepts to be understood, metonymy uses only one domain of experience. Moreover, conceptual metaphors are based on similarities that exist between the concepts being understood, whereas metonymy is based on the concept of contiguity. In metonymy, certain entities are used in place of another.

This means that one concept in the resultant expression is understood in terms of another. Simply put, metonymy can be in form of concept A standing for concept B. This paper shall address the linguistic concepts of conceptual metaphors and metonymy. The song, Angel in Your Eyes by John Michael Montgomery, shall be used in the analysis.

Reasons for choosing the topic

This topic was chosen because it deals with very important linguistic aspects that are used in day to day life. The two aspects dealt with in this paper are conceptual metaphors and metonymy. These two are considered as very vital in day to day conversations among people because the fundamental role they play in the cognitive process.

Metonymy allows one to use a particular aspect of a given experience in place of another portion of the same experience. Metonymy entails the use of a single domain of experience, unlike the conceptual metaphor, which requires the use of more than one domain.

In conceptual metaphor, the two domains that are used are the target and the source domain. Love songs are particularly fond of including lyrics that are loaded with conceptual metaphors as well as metonymy to put across their messages effectively.

In every conversation that is carried out everyday, it is a common occurrence to note the use of conceptual metaphors and metonyms. It is these linguistics components that make understanding of even complex issues easier and more interesting.

The love song, Angel In Your Eyes by John Michael Montgomery, was chosen to help in expounding of the two concepts because, the area of love is one of the topics that use conceptual metaphors and metonymy to pass across messages that could not have been easy to do so if another method or if merely plain language was used.

Discussing pop song lyrics is also an avenue through which one can enter into the lives of people and know how they view love. While trying to understand this, it is clear in many pop songs that many linguistic concepts are used to express one’s emotions. It is not uncommon to find many lyrics in the pop songs full of metaphors, metonymy, idioms and similes, among other linguistic features.

This makes the lyrics a perfect tool to use to explore the concepts in depth as well as understand love through the eyes of different pop artists. According to Colin (1996), pop songs are seen as a reflection of the state of the society. These kinds of songs are very popular with many people, regardless of age and status.

The reason why many people listen to them is not because they have an educative value, but because of the emotions they cause on their listeners and the effect they have on the relationships of the listeners. Plutchick (2003) observes that the lyrics of many love pop songs evoke different emotions such as love, grief or even anger, to the people who harbor unresolved emotions.

The songs also deal with relationships with a person who is loved. This implies that closeness is supposed to exist between the two parties. Although love songs seem to portray the existence of this closeness between lovers, a close examination at the lyrics reveal otherwise and the closeness implied is not real.

Lack of this important aspect is mostly disguised in the lyrics of the songs, which are well structured and use linguistic concepts to make the story in the song believable. Lyrics of love pop songs can be described as ones which bring out a non-existent social-emotional world. Pop songs therefore mostly deal with an imagined emotional world dealing with love, which is characterized by a lot of exaggerations.

Pop songs were also chosen as the best material for exploration of conceptual metaphors and metonymy because of the way they use ordinary everyday language, which is full of conceptual metaphors and metonyms.

In pop songs, it is very easy to understand the different emotions that are present at different stages of love because emotions and feelings are named and discussed in depth using linguistic aspects such as conceptual metaphors. These feelings and emotions, which can not be seen by our naked eyes, are therefore understood in a clearer manner through the lyrics of a pop song.

For example, the lines: ‘For every second she’s here with me, I wanna hold her in my arms’ show a strong emotional feeling towards the loved one. So strong is the feeling for her that he just wants to hold her in his arms. The same expression of strong feelings and desire are duplicated in other love songs.

Research methodology

A literature review on conceptual metaphors and metonymy was carried out. At first, there was a lot of literature dealing with this topic that was encountered in the course of the review. However, the literature to be used was carefully selected in order to remain with the literature that addressed the specific areas of interest of this research paper.

To discuss the two concepts, metaphor and metonymy, which are parts of the cognitive linguistics, the pop song, Angel in Your Eyes by John Michael Montgomery, will be used. There were numerous other love pop songs but this song was chosen because of how well the artist has incorporated the different aspects of the cognitive linguistics and specifically, metaphors and metonyms.

The song will help to shed light on how conceptual metaphors and metonyms are useful in the expression of deep emotions such as love. All these emotions are facets of love that people encounter as they go on with love relationships.

By using pop songs, many artists are able to easily express their feelings towards a person they love without much strain and in a manner that is appealing, even to the rest of the people who will hear the song. Hatfield and Rapson (1993) observe that the love pop songs also portray love as an emotion akin to madness. This is mostly done through the use of conceptual metaphors and metonyms.

This is evident in the song ‘angel in your eyes’, where the artist uses conceptual metaphors as well as metonyms to express his strong feeling of love towards the lover. Most of these expressions are full of exaggerations, which depict the state of his mind as it relates to the feelings of love towards the person the song is meant for. Many times, he describes the lady as his day and also his night.

He refers to her as an angel. These are some of the things that are not commonly done by sane people in other contexts except when expressing their love to another person. It is these exaggerations that portray love and the manner in which it is expressed as an emotion that is similar to madness.

Some of the key words identified were: conceptual metaphor, vehicle/source, target, domain, conceptual mappings, conceptual metaphors theory, metonymy, Contingency, Contiguity and pop song.

The notion of conceptual metaphor

The notion of a metaphor is that of conventional relationship between two entities which have similar characteristics. This is according to Croft & Cruse (2004). The conceptual aspect deals with understanding of a metaphor in relation with the conceptual domain used. Conceptual metaphors can be described in terms of source and target domain.

The source is usually a concrete thing and the target is normally an abstract thing. For example, the linguistic expressions …She is my day, she is my night…in the song Angel in Your Eyes by John Michael Montgomery, needs conventional knowledge on the two conceptual domains used in the expression. The conceptual domains in this case are ‘she’ referring to a lady who is somebody’s lover, and ‘day and night’ referring to time.

Both concepts are easily understood within the lay man’s language because they are familiar things. However, through the use of the two, those listening to the song are able to understand the emotional attachment between the singer and the person to whom the song is directed. This association can lead to the formation of a conceptual metaphor ‘LOVE IS TIMELESS’.

In the conceptual metaphor, LOVE IS TIMELESS; love can be described as the target domain. It is also an abstract domain and is the aspect which is being described by the metaphor. ‘Timeless’ is the source domain and it is a concrete domain. It is the one that is used to describe the target.

The source and the target help in bringing out the conventional conceptual link between the two distinct items. This is what is referred to as a conceptual metaphor. A conceptual metaphor is generally understood in terms of the target and the source.

It is possible for diverse languages to use the same conceptual metaphor. This has led to speculations by different scholars that the conceptual mappings that take place during the usage of conceptual metaphors have a direct relationship with neutral mappings that occur in the brain of a human being. Conceptual metaphors are present in people’s everyday language.

They are also vital in shaping the manner in which people think about things as well as how they do the same things. This means that conceptual metaphors are important in the cognitive processes of a person during communication. This happens many times, although it is often overlooked because it has become a common occurrence in people’s lives.

The use of conceptual metaphors therefore happens subconsciously for most of the people because it is something that has been registered in their subconscious. The use of conceptual metaphors when talking about love or when two people in a love relationship are talking to each other is very common.

This is clearly depicted in the song angel in your eyes, where the artist uses various conceptual metaphors to put across his point. Talking about the lady in question, he refers to her as his ‘day’. For most of the people, the concept of day is understood in terms of a gift. Each day that one is given to live is usually considered as a gift from God, therefore, something to be cherished and lived to the fullest.

Moreover, each day is considered to be unique as one has never seen such a day in their lives. When these two aspects are combined, it is possible to deduce that the singer views the person he is singing to as a gift that is supposed to be cherished and also as a person who is unique and different from all the rest that he may have encountered previously. Conceptual metaphors entail a lot of thought processes not merely words.

Structures of metaphoric expressions which are related in various ways are used when coming up with a conceptual metaphor. To understand the underlying meaning of these expressions, the mind is involved to unravel the hidden message that is being communicated by the conceptual metaphor.

The use of an abstract concept in the place of a target domain and a more concrete concept as the source domain further makes understanding of the conceptual metaphor require a lot of mental energy to unravel the meaning that was intended.

Conceptual mappings

A conceptual metaphor, which usually consists of a target and a source, has another component known as conceptual mappings. For example, She is my night, in the song Angel in Your Eyes by John Michael Montgomery, can be analyzed in terms of conceptual mappings. ‘She’ is inclusive of many people such as a lover, a wife, a close friend or a fiancée, depending on the person singing the song.

‘She’ can also be analyzed as an emotion of intense feelings of love that has been personified. ‘My night’ includes moon, stars, dreams and sleep. The conceptual metaphor ‘LOVE IS TIMELESS’ can be understood through cross-mapping both the source and the target domain together.

She is my night could therefore be interpreted to mean that lovers consider each other as an integral part of their lives and people who are always there by their side to cheer them up and brighten their lives when it is dark, just like the stars and the moon do. Lovers are therefore mapped onto the night as an aspect of time.

The metaphor could also be used to show how loving a person is a continuous act, as day and night appear continuously without failing.

Again, the metaphor, ‘She is the breath that gives me life’ is used to bring out the picture of ‘one is as good as a copse if they lack love’ the love the person gets from his lover is therefore mapped onto life. The breath that gives life is an important aspect of one’s life and therefore, the singer sees his lover as a very vital and integral part of their life.

Conceptual metaphors and bodily experience

According to Croft & Cruse (2004), the experiences of a person may dictate the use of conceptual metaphors. For example, it is clear to everybody that when one pours out something in an empty container, it is going to be full. Emptiness of something can therefore be eliminated by filling it with something.

There is a relationship between the vertical elevation of the liquid in the container and the quantity of the liquid being poured in the container. As one pours in the substance into the empty container, there is an increase in the level of the container that was once empty.

For example … That she fills my heart, she fills my soul, expresses the idea of the existence of a relationship between the quantity of love that is being poured out on another person’s heart and the amount of love present in their heart. The more the love is poured out in the heart, the more love there will be in the recipient’s heart. The words ‘fill’ express the idea of pouring out from one source too another that is primarily empty or not full.

This shows some emptiness in the person’s life and the need for the lover to fill the emptiness by pouring some love in their heart. This is supposed to be a free will action and it serves to show love as an action that can not be forced on someone but has to be deliberately chosen by the party engaging in it.

Love is here presented as something that is concrete and possesses the ability of being poured out or retained in a certain place. Its movement from one ‘heart’ to another has to be through the process of pouring, whereby there is a person willing to pour and a recipient willing to receive.

The Conceptual Metaphors Theory (CMT)

The conceptual metaphors possess certain characteristics which are also their distinguishing features. They include:

The unidirectionality of the metaphor

According to Croft & Cruse (2004), this property of a metaphor suggests that conceptual mappings can only happen in the order of a source domain to a target domain. The opposite can never happen. For example, love, in the expression ‘LOVE IS A SYMBOL OF ETERNITY’, which can be inferred from the two lines: She is my day, She is my night, can only be interpreted as the abstract target domain.

On the other hand, eternity can be described as the source domain. Interpreting the conceptual metaphor vice versa, to mean that love is the source domain and eternity is the target domain would create the impression that ‘eternity is love’. This is a wrong concept and does not make sense. In another example, people and supernatural beings can be considered as two domains.

The conceptual metaphors PEOPLE CAN BE SUPERNATURAL BEINGS can be forged. From this, linguistic expressions such as ‘She’ll always be an angel in my eyes’, found in the song are commonly used in the context of love. An angel is a supernatural being and the man calls his lover an angel.

Angelic qualities such as beauty and being perfect are mapped onto people. Another conceptual metaphor, heavenly bodies are people can also be formed. In this case, the heavenly bodies are considered to have human like qualities.

For example, ‘And I thank my lucky stars’, gives the impression of the stars having human-like qualities of being able to accept appreciation from people. The human ability to receive appreciation which is an animate feeling is mapped onto the star, an inanimate thing.

Common source and target domain

There are several most common domains that act as the source domains. They include the human body and its various parts such as the heart, feet, ears and head, among others (Ungerer & Schmid, 1996). In the song, the expression, ‘I get a chill runnin’ down my spine’ has been used as one containing a part of the body, the spine, as a source domain.

Animals are also used as source domains and expressions such as crocodile tears are not uncommon in day to day language.

Some expressions use plants as the source domains. For example, it is common to hear people use the metaphor ‘to bear fruit’.

The use of food as a source domain is also a normal occurrence in many people’s lives. For example, someone may ask for ‘a piece of cake’.

Lastly, forces are also used in the making of metaphors. An expression such as, he was pushed to do the job, uses force as the source domain.

Emotion is one of the target domains used in many metaphors. For example, one may say that highly overjoyed because of a certain achievement. In the statement, ‘she fills my soul’, the emotion of love is conceptualized as an object, capable of being transferred from one person to the other. In this case, there is the giver and the receiver of the emotion.

Morality can also be used as a target domain. An example of such is the expression: she gave into her demands.

Personal thoughts are a common target domain. For example, I can see trouble coming.

Another common target domain is the human relationships. For example, they cultivated their friendship.

Time is last target domain that people use in their everyday speech. An example of its usage is the expression, much time has been spent.

Metaphorical entailments

Metaphorical entailments are supplementary materials that a conceptual metaphor carries, which are not directly stated but can only be inferred (Kövecses, 2002). For example, when one says that LOVE IS TIMELESS, the idea that one can fall in love anytime is explicitly stated. Also, those in love are not limited by time when showing their affection to one another, anytime is appropriate.

Love is also explicitly portrayed as an eternal concept. Some other things can only be inferred from the statement because they are not mentioned in a direct manner. For example, there is always a starting point for any love relationship and some of them do not last eternally as suggested.

The expression shows how the sense of time is erased once a person falls in love and all fears of breaking up subside and the memory of the starting point also seem to fade, making the concept of love as something that cannot be placed in the confines of time. Time is also a valuable commodity that once it is lost, it can never be recovered. Love here is portrayed as such, once it is lost, it becomes impossible to recover.

For example, it is possible to say concerning a broken relationship that, ‘their love relationship hit a dead end’. Close scrutiny of an expression is necessary for someone to understand the metaphorical entailments of an expression.

This is because; they are not directly visible by a single glance at the conceptual metaphor. There can be several metaphorical entailments in just a single conceptual metaphor if one takes a closer look at it and thinks about it critically.

Metaphor system

Metaphor system refers to how a distinct metaphor relates to another one to form another metaphor that is more complex (Holme, 2009). Such relationships are common in most metaphors.

The invariance principle

According to Kövecses (2002), the invariance principle of a metaphor refers to the consistency that exists between the source and the target domain. The source domain is supposed to be chosen depending with the target domain and the intended message. When this happens, mapping is not a spontaneous happening but it is the structure of the target and source domain that limit the metaphorical mapping of that particular metaphor.

For example, the phrase, ‘She’ll always be an angel in my eyes’ is a positive one that is aimed at praising the lover. ‘She’ the target domain, is understood in relation to the source domain, in this case the angel. If counter example such as, ‘she’ll always be a devil in my eyes’, is used, the conceptual metaphor may seem eccentric.

This can be explained by the fact that the source domain ‘devil’, does not match up with target domain, ‘love’. ‘Angel’ gives an accurate picture of the beauty and other positive traits of the lady in question, who is the target domain. On the other hand, ‘devil’ does not have any correspondence with the inherent make up of the target domain, who is the lover being praised in the song.

Types of conceptual metaphors

Structural metaphors

These types of metaphors are those which have one of the concepts structured in a metaphorical manner. This same concept is then used as a target and understood in terms of another in a metaphor (Holme, 2009). For example, she is my day.

Orientational metaphors

These are metaphors characterized by certain orientations. For example, when the artist in the song says ‘Sometimes we laugh’, this can be described as them being up. However, when he says, ‘sometimes we cry’, this can be described as feeling down.

Ontological Metaphors

Holme (2009) describes ontological metaphors as a type of metaphors which are derived from experiences of human beings as they interact with their physical environment. This experience enables the human beings to see abstract things such as emotions as concrete and tangible things. For example, the heart is a container, is suggested by the artist when he says, ‘That she fills my heart’.

Conceptual metaphors around us

Kövecses (2002) says that conceptual metaphors are present in our daily lives as people engage in conversations while using certain linguistic expressions. For example, she is my day, she is my night. ‘She’ in this case is the target domain which represents a person who is loved; while day and night represent an aspect of time. The conceptual metaphor, LOVE IS TIMELESS, can be used to bring out their combined meaning.

Again, the following statements carry the same idea and can be summarized by a single conceptual metaphor. She is the breath that gives me life, she’s the closest thing to Heaven and she’ll always be an angel in my eyes are all used in reference to love.

She is the target domain that represents love, while ‘breath that gives me life, the closest thing to Heaven and an angel in my eyes’ all infer to a supernatural being. The conceptual metaphor, LOVE IS SUPERNATURAL, can be used to sum up the idea in the three expressions. Conceptual metaphors vary from one language to another.


According to Ungerer & Schmid (1996), metonymy is also a concept in linguistics which deals with derivation of meaning through association of one entity with another that it is related to. Metonymy can be understood by looking at it as a concept whereby, one a certain expression in linguistics is used in place of another. Both the expression that stands for the other and the one substituted are linguistic entities.

For example, I thank my lucky stars, in the song. Lucky stars stands for a divine being to whom the person extends their gratitude. ‘Day’, in the expression, She is my day, could have several interpretations such as the light. ‘Night’ in the line, She is my night, could be used to mean rest, since nights are associated with people resting.

Metonymy can also defined as a mental process which involves the use of two conceptual entities, known as the source and the target. The two entities are used within the same conceptual domain.

Metonymy as a conceptual domain

The linguistic concept of metonymy can be termed as part of humans’ daily ways of thinking. It is dependent on one’s experience and is a useful tool in the organization of one’s thought processes and manner of acting. For example, she is the breath that gives me life. ‘The breath that gives life’ is used in reference to the vital requirement for one to continue living without which a person would die.

The expression is used to show the value of the lady in the life of the singer. The survival of a person is dependent on the presence or absence of the breath. Someone without the breath that gives life is termed as a dead person. The use of such a strong metonym serves the purpose of expressing the importance of the lady in the artist’s life. The metonym breath, which is used in place of life, is very common.

Metonym as a cognitive process

As a cognitive process, metonymy incorporates two aspects: contiguity and contingency (Ungerer & Schmid, 1996). Contiguity refers to the close association between the physical and the causal entities in the metonym. For example, she’ll always be an angel in my eyes, shows a close and explicit relationship between the lady in question and an angel. This would be in reference to the beauty or the perfection of the lady in the singer’s eyes.

Contingency refers to the aspect of a metonym being able to have one entity draw attention to another within the same concept. This can be illustrated by the line, ‘She’ll always be an angel in my eyes’. The context in this statement is love. ‘An angel’ has been used to draw attention to the concept of beauty in relation to love.

Metonymy’s scope of operation

According to Croft & Cruse (2004), the scope of operation of metonymy is limited to a single conceptual domain. The mode of operation is such that a single conceptual unit serves as an avenue for mental access by another conceptual unit. The two conceptual units operate within the same domain.

This can simply be explained by the concepts of vehicle and target. Both the target and the vehicle are drawn from the same conceptual domains. The vehicle is used as a means of drawing attention to the target. Metonymy therefore becomes the route for doing this.

Different types of metonymy

Several types of metonymy have been identified by linguists. For example, there is the producer for product type of metonyms. In this case, a certain product is referred to by the same name as the producer. For example, ‘She’s the closest thing to Heaven’. The artist uses the word heaven, to refer to the Supreme Being who created it. Heaven is therefore used instead of God.

Another type of conceptual metonymy is whereby an object is used in place of the user. For example, she fills my soul. ‘She’, in this context is used in place of another thing, which is love. This is because it is not possible for a person to enter another’s soul, but the expression is commonly used to refer to the love one gets from another.

Some metonyms are also used in a way that part represents whole (Croft & Cruse, 2004). For example, she fills my heart. My heart in this statement is a part of the body of the singer and it implies the whole of him. Just because the other parts of his body are not mentioned does not mean that they are not inclusive in the statement but it means that the heart has been used to represent everything in the body.

The title of the song too, angel in your eyes, is used in a manner that part represents whole. ‘Your eyes’ in this context refers to the person as a whole but not the eyes only.

Relationship between metaphor and metonymy

The two are conceptual processes which help in understanding of certain concepts. They are useful to the human conceptual systems. In language, they emerge as a mirror of the existing conceptual system. Metonyms and metaphors therefore interact in the conceptual system and the results of these interactions are exhibited in the resultant semantic structure (Ungerer & Schmid, 1996).

Since both metonymy and conceptual metaphors are linguistic features, which try to appeal to the cognitive of the human mind, they serve common purposes in most cases whenever they are used. However, metonymy gives one an opportunity to focus on particular aspects of the concept that is being explained.

Metonymic concepts such as ‘She’ll always be an angel in my eyes’ are common in our day to day lives, especially for those in love relationships. This is replicated in conversations that people engage in as well as songs that are sang to express one’s love to their lover, especially the ladies.

This is because; this expression can have diverse interpretations. For instance, one could mean that the lady who is being told this words is extra ordinarily beautiful such that she can only be compared to an angel. Again, the expression can be used to show how detached the two are because angels are believed to reside in heaven, a place that is perceived to be very far.

The expression could also mean that she is a close companion in times of need and just like angels are believed to offer human beings help in their times of need, the lady is very prompt in meeting the needs of the person saying these words. The person could also mean that the lady is of a rare species that is very hard to find.

Just like angels are not found everywhere and can not be accessed by any person, the lady is unique and it is very hard to find people like her. Metonymic concepts are therefore part of everyday language that people use, although most of the times they are not aware that they are using them.


The application of cognitive linguistics in people’s day to day lives is not something uncommon. People tend to use concepts such as metaphors and metonyms either consciously or unconsciously as they carry on with their daily businesses. The area of love pop songs is one that has extensively used these two concepts to evoke emotions of love, fear, grief and even anger, among others.

Many people result to listening to these songs because of the emotional satisfaction they get from them. Although it has been argued that these songs tend to create a social-emotional world that is non-existent, people still listen to them, especially because of the way linguistic aspects such as conceptual metaphors and metonyms are used.

The use of conceptual metaphors and metonyms in love pop songs helps in expressing and bringing out a clear picture of emotions that are otherwise not visible by our naked eyes or when simple, ordinary and plain language is used.


Cognitive linguistics is found in many areas of people’s lives and play a great role in communication. Love pop songs have been used for a long time as avenues of expressing human emotions. The songs are very effective in communication of emotions that would rather be kept private rather than be made known to other people.

Emotions such as guilt and shame are not easy to express, but through pop love songs, people have been able to freely express such emotions.

Training of cognitive linguistics, especially the areas of metaphors and metonyms can be very helpful to artists who compose these songs. Such training would help the artists to come up with music that is not overly imaginative, but which is able capture the emotions of people in a real world. This would also help in the minimization of exaggerations in the songs.

Upcoming musicians can also be taught about the importance of using conceptual metaphors and metonyms in order to pass across their message in a simplistic manner. The teaching of cognitive linguistics in schools should be taken seriously and more effort should be put to ensure that students do well in this area because it is going to help them in their endeavors.

Metonyms and conceptual metaphors can be very useful in addressing issues of social relationships. This is because; at times it is hard to confront people directly because of their failures and especially in the context of love. Pop songs, laden with conceptual metaphors and metonyms, can be an effective tool of doing this without being offensive to the party involved.

It also becomes easier for the person addressing the issue, be it a conflict, heartbreak or just expressing feelings of resentment, because of personal dissatisfaction with a relationship. The combination of conceptual metaphors, metonyms and pop songs are therefore very useful in the restoration of social order and resolving of conflicts.

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IvyPanda. (2019, May 14). Conceptual Metaphors and Metonyms in Love Pop Songs. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/conceptual-metaphors-and-metonyms-in-love-pop-songs-research-paper/

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"Conceptual Metaphors and Metonyms in Love Pop Songs." IvyPanda, 14 May 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/conceptual-metaphors-and-metonyms-in-love-pop-songs-research-paper/.

1. IvyPanda. "Conceptual Metaphors and Metonyms in Love Pop Songs." May 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/conceptual-metaphors-and-metonyms-in-love-pop-songs-research-paper/.


IvyPanda. "Conceptual Metaphors and Metonyms in Love Pop Songs." May 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/conceptual-metaphors-and-metonyms-in-love-pop-songs-research-paper/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Conceptual Metaphors and Metonyms in Love Pop Songs." May 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/conceptual-metaphors-and-metonyms-in-love-pop-songs-research-paper/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Conceptual Metaphors and Metonyms in Love Pop Songs'. 14 May.

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