The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics
[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 22, No. 0, pp.136-152
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Print publication date 31 Jan 2022
Received 22 Nov 2021 Revised 18 Feb 2022 Accepted 27 Feb 2022

Primary Metaphors for LIFE IS A BASEBALL GAME

Youngju Choi
Professor, Chosun Univ., Tel: 062-609-5132

© 2022 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Grady (1996, 1997a, 1997b) argues that some metaphors, such as THEORIES ARE BUILDINGS, IDEAS ARE FOOD, and LIFE IS A JOURNEY, are complex metaphors that can be reanalyzed with primary ones. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that LIFE IS A BASEBALL GAME is one such metaphor. The metaphor is decomposed into two primary metaphors, PURPOSES ARE DESIRED OBJECTS and MAKING PROGRESS IS SCORING. This reanalysis will reveal that the metaphor LIFE IS A BASEBALL GAME is a dual of the LIFE IS A JOURNEY metaphor. This discovery suggests that many other well-known metaphors could be fruitfully reanalyzed as complex metaphors, allowing their relationships with other metaphors to be much more clearly recognized.


primary metaphor, LIFE IS A SPORTING GAME, LIFE IS A JOURNEY, metaphorical duality


This study was supported by research fund from Chosun University, 2021.


  • Choi, Y. 2019. The partial nature of metaphorical entailment: Focusing on the LIFE IS A BASEBALL GAME metaphor. Studies in Modern Grammar 103, 107-130. []
  • Grady, J., S. Taub and P. Morgan 1996. Primitive and compound metaphors. In A. Goldberg, ed., Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, 177–187. Stanford: CSLI.
  • Grady, J. E. 1997a. THEORIES ARE BUILDINGS revisited. Cognitive Linguistics 8(4), 267-290. []
  • Grady, J. E. 1997b. Foundations of Meaning: Primary Metaphors and Primary Scenes. Doctoral dissertation, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.
  • Grady, J. E. 1999. A typology of motivation for conceptual metaphor: Correlation vs. resemblance. In R. W. Gibbs, Jr. and G. J. Steen, eds., Metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics, 79-100. Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company. []
  • Grady, J. E. 2005. Primary metaphors as inputs to conceptual integration. Journal of Pragmatics 37(10), 1595-1614. []
  • Hiraga, M. K. (1991). Metaphors Japanese Women Live By. In D. Bower, A Pauwels and J. Winter eds., Working Papers on Language, Gender and Sexism, Vol. 1, 38-57. Publication of the Scientific Commission of Language, Gender, International Association of Applied Linguistics, Monash University Printing Service.
  • Kim, H. 2016. A metaphor-theoretical analysis of figurative meanings of baseball terms in Korean. Korean Journal of Linguistics, 41(2), 217-237. []
  • Kurowska, K.. 2019. ‘Did he get to second base?’ Baseball metaphor as a means of describing the degree of physical intimacy in the fifty shades trilogy. ZESZYT 104, 126-135. []
  • Lakoff, G. 2006. The contemporary theory of metaphor. In D. Geeraerts, R. Dirven and J. R. Taylor, eds., Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings, 185-238. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. []
  • Lakoff, G. and M. Johnson. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Winter, B. and T. Matlock. 2017. Primary metaphors are both cultural and embodied. In B. Hampe, ed., Metaphor: Embodied Cognition and Discourse, 99-116. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. []