Conceptual Metaphor Theory
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis thesis proposes a comprehensive cognitive account of metaphor understanding that combines aspects of Relevance Theory (e.g. Sperber & Wilson 1986/95; Carston 2002) and Cognitive Linguistics, in particular ideas from Conceptual Metaphor Theory (e.g. Lakoff & Johnson 1980; Lakoff 1987; Johnson 1991) and Situated Conceptualization (e.g. Barsalou 1999; 2005). While Relevance Theory accounts for propositional aspects of metaphor understanding, the model proposed here additionally accounts for nonpropositional effects which intuitively make metaphor feel ‗special‘ compared to literal expressions. This is achieved by (a) assuming a further, more basic processing level of imagistic-experiential representations involving mental simulation patterns (Barsalou 1999; 2005) alongside relevance-theoretic inferential processing and (b) assuming processing of the literal meaning of a metaphorical expression at a metarepresentational level, as proposed by Carston (2010). The approach takes Tendahl‘s ‗Hybrid Theory of Metaphor‘ (2006), which also combines cognitive-linguistic with relevance-theoretic ideas, as a starting point. Like Tendahl, it incorporates the notion of conceptual metaphors (Lakoff & Johnson 1980), albeit in a modified form, thus accounting for metaphor in thought. Wilson (2009) suggests that some metaphors originate in language (as previously assumed by Relevance Theory) and others originate in thought (as previously assumed within Cognitive Linguistics). The model proposed here can account for both. Unlike Tendahl, it assumes a modular mental architecture (Sperber 1994), which ensures that the different levels of processing are kept apart. This is because each module handles only its own domain-specific input, here consisting of either propositional or imagistic-experiential representations. The propositional level, which remains the dominant processing route in utterance 3 understanding, as in Relevance Theory, receives some input from the imagistic-experiential level. This is mediated at a metarepresentational level, which turns the imagistic-experiential representations into propositional material to be processed at the inferential level in the understanding of literal expressions. In metaphor understanding, however, the literal meaning is not processed as meaning-constitutive content. As a result, the imagistic-experiential aspects of the literal meaning in question are not processed as propositional input. Rather, they are held at the metarepresentational level and experienced as strong impressions of the kind that only metaphors can communicate.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Bedfordshire
The following license files are associated with this item: