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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Diane Millette

Second Committee Member

Thomas Steinfatt

Third Committee Member

Robert Hosmon


Due to China's important status on the global stage, its language and culture have drawn a great deal of attention in academia. Meanwhile, the United States remains a major power, and English continues to be the most widely spoken language in today's world. Exploring intercultural communication among people who speak Chinese and English continues to be an important research area. This study, with its primarily linguistic concern, was designed to focus on a frequently employed figure of speech, metaphor. Based on a comprehensive review of literature on intercultural communication and cognitive linguistics, this research focused on metaphor's cognitive value in order to explore its universal validity. A sample database was generated utilizing metaphorical expressions in classical poetry from Chinese, British, and American literature. An in-depth content analysis was conducted using grounded theory methodology to investigate the common place understanding between Chinese and English cultures. Similarities were achieved among existing patterns of metaphorical expressions from relevant poems. Three primary types of metaphors were found. The first metaphor included abstract concepts projected to concrete concepts. The second metaphor was objects projected to human beings. The third metaphor was objects projected to objects. Two main implications were found based on this research. The primary implication for intercultural communication was related to common ground understanding, adaptation of Chinese immigrants in the United States, and improved international relations. Metaphor's universally cognitive validity constitutes the secondary implication of this study, which contributes to the development of cognitive linguistic theory.


Theory; Acculturation; Poetry