Death Metaphors in Chinese TV Series: Four Case Studies

Ying HUI, Qingyun ZHANG, Lei YAO


Death has been a taboo subject in Chinese culture. Studying how Chinese people conceptualize death is an important way to better understanding Chinese culture. The current paper adopts the multimodal metaphor theory as the theoretical foundation and explores the death metaphors in some Chinese TV series. The present study finds five death metaphors, and they are DEATH IS DOWN, DEATH IS SETTING, DEATH IS GOING OUT, DEATH IS BIRTH and DEATH IS DARKNESS. The source domains are presented in the mode of pictorial signs and color while the target domain is presented by the mode of pictorial signs alone, or the mode of spoken signs alone, or sometimes by the two simultaneously.


Death metaphor; Multimodal metaphor; Chinese TV series; Case studies

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