A closer walk: a cognitive linguistic study of movement and proximity metaphors and their impact on certainty in Muslim and Christian language

Richardson, Peter (2013). A closer walk: a cognitive linguistic study of movement and proximity metaphors and their impact on certainty in Muslim and Christian language. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Conservative religious believers often make use of language that represents the perception that there are clear, fixed differences between their view of the world and the worldview of others, and that their view is unambiguously true and other views are not. This thesis explores the validity of that notion through an analysis of conservative religious language from a cognitive linguistic perspective. It first examines the research relating to what is involved in the process of categorising the environment around us and applies it to how that process can lead to and even encourage the perception of conservative religious believers that reality can be simplified into sets of fixed, binary categories. It then investigates whether there are clear, fixed differences between a 15,225 word collection of Evangelical Times Christian testimonials and a 29,067 word collection of islamfortoday.com Muslim testimonials in terms of their use of movement and proximity metaphors to express their way of believing. This thesis concludes with an analysis of the language of three pairs of conservative Muslims and Christians during a videoed discussion focusing on the differences in their experience as believers. In contrast to the first study`s focus on collections of texts, this analysis focuses on individual differences in their use of proximity and movement metaphors and empathetic language. The results of these studies suggest that, despite the fact that such believers perceive their views of the world as clear and fixed, the expression of their perceived experience of interacting with a divine agent can only be accurately described in terms of varying patterns of emphasis. In addition, not only is it sometimes quite difficult to mark out clear differences between different belief communities in terms of this type of language, it is also possible for individuals within the same communities to exhibit as much divergence as individuals from two different communities.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama, American and Canadian Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4691


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