Conceptualizing the metaphors of drug abusers

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Abstract

The intention of this article is to demonstrate, within the framework of cognitive linguistics (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980a), how slang words associated with substance abuse are conceptualized via metaphors. This study analyses recreational drug slang terms found in the Drug Slang Dictionary in order to reveal categories of metaphors involved in drug users’ language. The results of the data analysis effectively reveal that, within a thematic approach, classes of metaphor are coded to enable connections between metaphorical concepts and drug addicts’ physiological experiences in order to present their personal meanings and cognitive processes. The study also involves drug addicts’ narratives to identify conceptual metaphors in their experiences. Notably, it is argued within this research that figurative language use is also connected to the cultural background of users to a great extent.

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