DOI: 10.47836/jlc.10.02.07 ISSN: 2637-0875


Zhuqi Jin, Xi Zheng

Damage to the environment is a pressing concern. Nature Is Speaking, an environmental protection public service advertisement (PSA) series produced by Conservation International, is one of the many attempts to arouse the awareness of the general public. In the series, the Redwood video stands out for its unique dialogic format which differs from the homogeneous monologic others. The conversation in Redwood makes use of anthropomorphic metaphors and encompasses two layers of the parent-child (P-C) relationship analogies, including (1) the P-C relationship between the elder and younger redwoods, and (2) the P-C relationship between Nature and Humans. Using Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980) Conceptual Metaphor Theory, the present study first examines the message underlying these parent-child metaphors and how these metaphors are constructed in the Redwood video. Additionally, using Fauconnier and Turner’s (2003) Conceptual Blending Theory, this study draws attention to the asymmetry between the millennial lifespan of redwoods and the short lifespan of human beings, in the process constructing a favourable identity of the ancient elder redwood as a credible witness of earth’s history, and hence a knowledgeable educator to humans. In highlighting the asymmetry between the lifespans of the redwoods and humans, the video serves as a warning to human beings, reminding them to show greater respect to Nature if they wish to ensure their and their offspring’s survival. The findings of this study reveal how metaphors, via conceptual mappings and blending, contribute to the creation of effective environmental protection PSAs in general.

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