The Metaphorical Use of Carrying Something on One’s Shoulders – A Study of Embodied Experience and Socio-Cultural Differences Between English And Indonesian Language

Authors: Muhammad Adam, Jepri (Fakultas Sastra, Universitas Balikpapan, Indonesia)
Speakers: Muhammad Adam, Jepri
Topic: Anthropological Linguistics
CALA 2020 General Session


Through this paper, we intend to explore the use of the phrase “to carry something on one’s shoulders” between English and Indonesian languages. The phrase to carry something on one’s shoulder which in Indonesian language is expressed using only one word “pikul – memikul (v)” seems to have the same meaning in both literal and metaphorical strands. However, we argue that there are differences in literal and metaphorical use of the phrase between the two languages, where in Indonesian language, the word memikul is still frequently used in literal contexts, where in English language it is not. Furthermore, there is more embodied experience entailment and socio-cultural value attached to the word in Indonesian language than in English language. The socio-cultural context embedded in the word memikul in Indonesian language can be seen both in literal and metaphorical use, which implies cooperation and unity, whereas for the embodied experience, we also argue that the experiential aspect of the word memikul is embedded more in Indonesian speakers then in English, as the Indonesian people still literally carry a heavy weight thing on their shoulder. The result of the study will provide a perspective on the influence of speakers’ embodied experience as well as socio-cultural aspect in production and interpretation of metaphorical expressions particularly between English and Indonesian language, it is also to confirm the idea that metaphor is a window to the speakers’ culture. The result of the study will also provide a valuable input to the discussion of metaphor translation between English and Indonesian and vice versa as the socio-cultural aspects and embodied experience as the metaphorical entailment is sometimes lost during translation. This study will use corpus linguistics as the data source, and conceptual metaphor theory is used as the framework of this study. The first part of the paper will focus on the literal comparison between the English phrase” “to carry something on one’s shoulder” and Indonesian word “memikul”, whereas the difference of embodied experience and socio-cultural context between the two languages will be discussed at the second part.

Keywords: Conceptual Metaphor, socio-cultural context, embodied experience, metaphorical entailments.