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Zoltán Kövecses, PhD, DLitt,

Phone: +36 1 485 5200 / 4306
Office: Room 309

Zoltán Kövecses
Research Areas
Research Grants and Awards, Visiting Professorships

Selected Publications

For a full list of publications, complete with journal articles, book chapters, as well as reviews and citations, see here, and also

Books authored

Language, Mind, and Culture. A Practical Introduction.
Oxford University Press. 2006. 400 pp.

This book shows that given the new findings of cognitive linguistics, it is possible to offer a unified account of not only linguistic meaning, but also that of meaning in a wide variety of social and cultural phenomena. It is suggested that cognitive linguistics is a much more comprehensive enterprise than is commonly accepted - both inside and outside the field. The book presents a comprehensive account of meaning in many linguistic and cultural phenomena that is crucially based and dependent on cognitive capacities that human understanders and producers of language possess independently of their ability to use language.


Metaphor in Culture. Universality and Variation.
Cambidge and New York: Cambridge University Press. 205. 336 pp.

To what extent and in what ways is metaphorical thought relevant to an understanding of culture and society? More specifically: can the cognitive linguistic view of metaphor simultaneously explain both universality and diversity in metaphorical thought? Cognitive linguists have done important work on universal aspects of metaphor, but they have paid much less attention to why metaphors vary both interculturally and intraculturally as extensively as they do. In this book, Zoltán Kövecses proposes a new theory of metaphor variation. First, he identifies the major dimension of metaphor variation, that is, those social and cultural boundaries that signal discontinuities in human experience. Second, he describes which components, or aspects of conceptual metaphor are involved in metaphor variation, and how they are involved. Third, he isolates the main causes of metaphor variation. Fourth Professor Kövecses addresses the issue to the degree of cultural coherence in the interplay among conceptual metaphors, embodiment, and causes of metaphor variation.

A metafora. Gyakorlati bevezetés a kognitív metaforaelméletbe. (2005), Budapest: Typotex Kiadó.

Metaphor. A Practical Introduction.
Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 2002. 304 pp.

This clear and lucid primer fills an important need by providing a comprehensive account of the many new developments in the study of metaphor over the last twenty years and their impact on our understanding of language, culture, and the mind. Beginning with Lakoff and Johnson's seminal work in Metaphors We Live By, Kovecses outlines the development of “the cognitive linguistic theory of metaphor” by explaining key ideas on metaphor. He also explores primary metaphor, metaphor systems, the “invariance principle,” mental-imagery experiments, the many-space blending theory, and the role of image schemas in metaphorical thought. He examines the applicability of these ideas to numerous related fields.


Metaphor and Emotion: Language, Culture, and Body in Human Feeling. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. 2000. 240 pp.

Many researchers claim that emotions arise either from human biology (i.e., biological reductionism) or as products of culture (i.e., social constructionism). Are human emotions best characterized as biological, psychological, or cultural entities? Zoltan Kovecses demonstrates how cultural aspects, metaphorical language, and human physiology are part of an integrated system. This book challenges the simplistic division between the body and culture by stressing how human emotions are to a large extent “constructed” from individuals’ embodied experiences in different cultural settings.


Bridge One: British and American English Differences for Learners of English. Budapest: Librotrade. 2000. 156 pp.

The book attempts to bring together the most important linguistic differences between British and American English. Only differences that are regular and systematic are included. The book consists of six chapters, each accompanied by a set of related exercises, that discusssuch ystematic differences in the following areas: pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, speaking style, and miscellaneous differences. The book is also accompanied by a tape to facilitate the leanrnign of promunciation differnces, and also by BRIDGE TWO: A Dictionary of British-American and American-British Differences, a volume on differences in vocabulary.


American English. An Introduction.
Peterborough, ON, Canada: Broadview Press. 2000. 348 pp.

This is a non-technical introduction to American English. The first part consists of a general account of variation in American English. It offers concise but comprehensive coverage of such topics as the history of American English; regional, social and ethnic variation; variation in style (including slang); and British and American differences.
The second part of the book puts forward an account of how American English has developed its dominance. Intellectual traditions such as puritanism and republicanism are discussed in terms of how they have shaped the American world view, and have also contributed to the distinctiveness of American English.
American English is ideally suited for use as a textbook in courses on the topic; also available will be an instructor’s manual providing questions and study activities for students.


Az Amerikai Angol. “The Voice of America”
[Title in English: American English. “The Voice of America”].
Budapest: ELTE Eötvös Kiadó. 1996. 293 pp.

This book is a general introduction to the study of American English and its cultural context for the Hungarian reader. It deals with the major geographic, social, and ethnic varieties of American English and with the historical-cultural development of this language into a distinctive variety of English.

Emotion Concepts. (1990), New York: Springer-Verlag.

The Language of Love. The Semantics of Passion in Conversational English. (1988), Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, London and Toronto: Associated University Presses.

Metaphors of Anger, Pride and Love. A Lexical Approach to the Structure of Concepts. (1986), Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Edited Books and Journal Issues

Cultural Variation in Metaphor. (2004) Invited guest editor. Special issue of EJES (European Journal of English Studies).

New Approaches to American English. (1995), Budapest: Eötvös Loránd University.

Voices of Friendship: Linguistic Essays in Honor of László T. András. (1993), Budapest: Eötvös Loránd University.


Angol-Magyar Szlengszótár. (Title in English: English-Hungarian Slang Dictionary) 2006. Debrecen: Aquila.

Magyar-Angol Szlengszótár. (Title in English: Hungarian-English Slang Dictionary) 2006. Debrecen: Aquila.

Angol-Magyar Kifejezéstár. (Title in English: English-Hungarian Idiom Dictionary) (2005) Budapest: Magyar Konyvklub.

Magyar-Angol Kifejezéstár. (Title in English: Hungarian-English Idiom Dictionary) (2003) Budapest: Magyar Konyvklub.

An English-Hungarian Idiom Dictionary. For Learners of English. (2001). Budapest: Librotrade.

BRIDGE TWO: A British-American, American British Dictionary. (2000). Budapest: Librotrade.

Angol-Magyar Szótár. (Title in English: English-Hungarian Dictionary.) (1999) [With L. Országh, T. Magay and D. Futász] Budapest: Akademiai Kiado.

Magyar Szlengszótár (Title in English: A Dictionary of Hungarian Slang) (1998), Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.

Magyar-Angol Nagyszótár (Title in English: Unabridged Hungarian-English Dictionary) (1998) [With L. Országh and D. Futász] Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.

A Picture Dictionary of English Idioms. Four volumes. (Co-authors: M. Tóth and B. Babarci) (1998), Budapest: Eötvös Loránd University Press.

Angol-Magyar Szlengszótár (Title in English: English-Hungarian Slang Dictionary, with L. T. András). (1991/1994) Budapest: Maecenas. (1994 edition: Eötvös Loránd University Press)

Magyar-Angol Szlengszótár (Title in English: Hungarian-English Slang Dictionary, with L. T. András) (1989/1994) Budapest: Maecenas. (1994 edition: Eötvös Loránd University Press)


The biblical story retold: symbols in action. (to be published). In Zic Fuchs, Milena, & Mario Brdar, eds. Converging and Diverging Tendencies in Cognitive Linguistics.

Using conceptual metaphors and metonymies in vocabulary teaching. [with Márta Beréndi and Szilvia Csábi] (forthcoming, 2007). In Frank Boers and Seth Lindstromberg, eds. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

A fogalmi metaforák elmélete és az elmélet kritikája. Világosság, 2006/8-9-10, pp. 87-97.

Metaphor variation and media language. (2006). In Jagoda Granic, ed., Jezik & Mediji. Zagreb-Split: Vise Svjetov. 393-403.

Embodiment, experiential focus, and diachronic change in metaphor. (2006). In Selected Proceedings of the 2005 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX), R. W. McConchie, Olga Timofeeva, Heli Tissari, and Tanja Säily, (eds.). Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA. Pp. 1-7.

A broad view of cognitive linguistics. Acta Linguistica Hungarica, Vol. 52, No. 2-3. (2005), pp. 135-172.
Túl a fogalmi metaforákon [Beyond conceptual metaphors]. Általános Nyelvészeti Tanulmányok [Studies in General Linguistics] (edited by Kertész András és Pelyvás Péter). (2005), XXI. 71-88.

Emotion concepts: from anger to quilt. A cognitive semantic perspective. Psicopatologia cognitiva/Cognitive Psychopathology.(2005). Vol. 2, no. 3. (edited by Marco Casonato). 13-32.

Is thought (meaning) essentially literal? The relationship between literal-figurative and concrete abstract meanings. (2005). In S. Coulson and B. Lewandowska-Tomaszcyk (eds.), The Literal and Nonliteral in Language and Thought. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Pp. 201-220.

Introduction: Cultural variation in metaphor. (2004). European Journal of English Studies (special issue Cultural Variation in Metaphor, edited by Zoltán Kövecses). Vol. 8, no. 3. 263-274.

Language, figurative thought, and cross-cultural comparison. (2003). Metaphor and Symbol, vol. 18.4, 311-320.
Cultural variation in metaphor. (2003). Discourse and Cognition. Volume 10.2, 1-25.

Language, emotion, mind. (2002). In B. Lewandowska-Tomaszcyk and P. James Melin (eds.), Cognitive Linguistics Today. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Pp. 125-138.

Cognitive-linguistic comments on metaphor identification. (2002). Language and Literature. Vol. 11.1, 74-78.

A cognitive linguistic view of metaphor and therapeutic discourse. (2001). Psyart. An online journal for the psychological study of the arts.

American Studies in the age of cognitive science. (2001). Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 7.1, 69-93.

Force and emotion. (2000). In Liliana Albertazzi (ed.) Meaning and Cognition. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 145-168.

The concept of anger: universal or culture-specific? (2000) Psychopathology, Vol. 33, No. 4, 159-170.
The scope of metaphor (2000) In A. Barcelona (ed.) Metaphor and Metonymy at the Crossroads. Berlin: Gruyter. Pp. 79-92.

Metaphor: Does it reflect or constitute cultural models? (1999) In R. Gibbs and G. Steen (eds.) Metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Language and emotion concepts: What experientialists and social constructionists have in common. 1999. [co-author: Gary Palmer] In Gary Palmer and Debra Occhi, eds., Languages of Sentiment. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 237-262.

Towards a new theory of metonymy. [co-author: Günter Radden] In: K.-U. Panther and G. Radden (eds.) Metonymy. (1999), Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Metonymy: developing a cognitive linguistic view. [co-author: Gunter Radden] (1998), Cognitive Linguistics, 9-1, 37-77.

Are there any emotion-specific metaphors? In: A. Athanasiadou and E. Tabakowska (eds.), Speaking of Emotion: Conceptualization and Expression. (1998), Berlin: Mouton.

Will American English be the next dead language? In: C. Giorcelli and R. Kroes (eds.) Living with America, 1946-1996 (1997), Amsterdam: Vrije University Press. 126-138.

Az amerikai szleng. [American slang] In: T. Kis (ed.) A szlengkutatás útjai és lehetőségei [title in English: Ways and possibilities of researching slang] (1997) Debrecen: Kossuth University Press. 7-39.

Harré "emocionológiája” és a kognitív nyelvészet érzelemfelfogása. [Harré’s emotionology and the conception of emotion in cognitive linguistics] In: Replika. (1997). 25, 163-174.

Hungarian piros and vörös. In: Semiotica. (Co-authors: R. MacLaury and J. Almási. (1997). 114-1/2, 67-81.

Idioms: A view from cognitive semantics. (Co-author: P. Szabó). Applied Linguistics. (1996). 17-3, 326-355.

American friendship and the scope of metaphor. Cognitive Linguistics. 6-4, (1995). 315-346.

Privacy in America. In: T. Frank (ed.), Values in American Society. Budapest: Eötvös Loránd University. (1995). 19-27.

What is unique about American English? In: Z. Kövecses (ed.), New Approaches to American English. Budapest: Eötvös Loránd University. (1995). 59-69.

Understanding the Statue of Liberty: Language, Cultural Symbols, and Cognitive Linguistics. In: Z. Kövecses (ed.), New Approaches to American English. Budapest: Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem. (1995). 129-138.

Anger: Its language, conceptualization, and physiology. In: John R. Taylor és Robert MacLaury (eds.), Language and the Construal of the World. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. (1995). 181-196.

The CONTAINER metaphor of anger in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Hungarian. In: Zdravko Radman (ed.), From a Metaphorical Point of View. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. (1995). 117-145.

Metaphor and the folk understanding of anger. In: J. A. Russell (ed.), Everyday Conceptions of Emotion. Dordrecht: Kluwer. (1995). 49-71.

Language and emotion concepts. In: J. A. Russell (ed.), Everyday Conceptions of Emotion. (1995) Dordrecht: Kluwer. 3-15.

Ordinary language, common sense, and expert theories in the domain of emotion. In Jurg Siegfried (ed.) The status of common sense in psychology. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation. (1994). 77-97.

Tocqueville’s passionate ‘beast.’ A linguistic analysis of American democracy. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity. Vol. 9(2), 1994. 113-133.

Minimal and full definitions of meaning. In: Conceptualizations and Mental Processing in Language. Szerk. Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn és Richard Geiger. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, (1993) 247-266.

Friendship. In: Z. Kövecses (ed.), Voices of Friendship. Linguistic Essays in Honor of László T. András. Budapest: Eötvös Loránd University. (1993). 131-177.

Happiness: A definitional effort. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity. Vol. 6(1), (1991), 29-46.

A linguist's quest for love. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Vol. 8., (1991), 77-97.

Joy: An exercise in the description of emotion concepts. In Grazer Linguistische Studien, University of Graz, special issue: Sprache: Emotion, 33/34, pp. 153-164, (1990).

Sport and Semiotics. In Semiotik in den Einzelwissenschaften, ed. Walter Koch, Bochum, West Germany: Studienverlag Dr. Norbert Brockmeyer, pp. 135-151, (1990).

What language can reveal about romantic love. In For a Semiotics of Emotion, ed. Walter A. Koch, Bochum, West Germany: Studienverlag Dr. Norbert Brockmeyer, pp. 86-92, (1989).

The cognitive model of anger inherent in American English. (co-author: George Lakoff) In Berkeley Cognitive Science Reports. May, 1983. Also in Cultural Models in Language and Thought, D. Holland and N. Quinn, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 195-221, (1987).

The folk model of romantic love in America. In: High and Low in American Culture, ed. Ch. Kretzoi, Budapest: Eötvös Lorand University Press, pp. 125-132, (1986).

Az esztétikai sportok mozgásanyagának elemzéséhez. (“On analyzing the movements of aesthetic sports”, with Kinga Németh), in Testnevelési Föiskola Közleményei (Reports of the University of Physical Education), Budapest, 1, pp. 87-101, 1981.

A sport mint társadalmi jelenség. (“Sport as a social phenomenon”), in Magyar Tudomány (Hungarian Science), 10, 1980.

Festa e sport (“Festivities and sport”), in Festa: Antropologia e Semiotica, ed. C. Bianco and M. Del Ninno, Florence, Italy: Nuova Guaraldi, pp. 127-31, 1981.

Texts and the prototype theory of meaning, in Linguistische Studien, 55, Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR, pp. 59-65, 1978.

Towards a semantics of sport, in Semiotica, 4, 313-338, 1976.

Népi játékok, sport, mindennapi élet. (“Folk games, sport and everyday life”), in A társadalom jelei (“The signs of social life”), eds. M. Ardó, I. Gráfik and V. Voigt, Budapest: Népmüvelési Propaganda Iroda, pp. 124-131, 1976.

Sport mint a mindennapi élet egyik modellje (“Sport as a model of everyday life”), in Valóság (Reality), 6, 1975.


Review of Dmitrij Dobrovol’skij and Elisabeth Piirainen, (2005). Figurative Language: Cross-Cultural and Cross-Linguistic Perspectives. Amsterdam: Elsevier. In Metaphor and Symbol. (in press).

Emotion, metaphor and narrative. Review of The Mind and its Stories: Narrative Universals and Human Emotion. Patrick Colm Hogan. Cambridge UP, 2003. In Trends in Cognitive Science, Vol. 8.4, 2004, 154-156.

Review of Cathrine Lutz, 1988. Unnatural Emotions. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. In Metaphor and Symbolic Activity. 6(3), (1991), 223-225.


Nádas, Péter (1986), “Mese a tűzről és a tudásról” (from Hungarian into English; English title “A tale about fire and knowledge”), in The New Hungarian Quarterly, vol. 30. winter, No. 116, 1989, pp. 40-45.