25.4310, Review: Cognitive Sci; Discourse; Pragmatics; Semantics: Gonzálvez-García, Peña Cervel, Pérez Hernández (2013)

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Subject: 25.4310, Review: Cognitive Sci; Discourse; Pragmatics; Semantics: Gonzálvez-García, Peña Cervel, Pérez Hernández (2013)

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Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:30:32
From: Nina Julich [nina_julich at yahoo.de]
Subject: Metaphor and Metonymy revisited beyond the Contemporary Theory of Metaphor

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Book announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/24/24-4406.html

EDITOR: Francisco  Gonzálvez-García
EDITOR: María Sandra  Peña Cervel
EDITOR: Lorena  Pérez Hernández
TITLE: Metaphor and Metonymy revisited beyond the Contemporary Theory of Metaphor
SUBTITLE: Recent developments and applications
SERIES TITLE: Benjamins Current Topics 56
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Nina Julich, Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau

Review's Editor: Helen Aristar-Dry


So far, the Conceptual Theory of Metaphor (henceforth CTM) has basically
focused on cognition and conceptual structure. This edited volume is meant to
extend and complement CTM by presenting recent theoretical findings on the one
hand and by including current applications of CTM to such diverse fields as
discourse analysis, text linguistics, second language learning and translation
on the other hand. The papers compiled in this volume have been previously
published in a special issue of “Review of Cognitive Linguistics“ (2011,
Volume 9, Issue 1).

Part one: The contemporary theory of metaphor: revisions and recent
This section begins with a paper by Zoltán Kövecses – one of the leading
scholars in conceptual metaphor research. In “Recent developments in metaphor
theory. Are the new views rival ones?“, Kövecses compares recent approaches to
conceptual metaphor, like the categorization view, standard CTM, blending
theory, the neural theory of metaphor, CTM based on main meaning focus, and
relevance theory against one another with respect to their analysis of the
famous example “This surgeon is a butcher.“ He concludes by suggesting that
the theories do not present opposing strands but that they are in fact
compatible with one another.

The second contribution is by a similar prominent figure in metaphor research,
Gerard J. Steen. In “The contemporary theory of metaphor - now new and
improved!,“ Steen challenges Lakoff‘s ‘old‘ theory of metaphor by suggesting
that metaphor might best be studied in terms of a three-dimensional model
comprising metaphor in language, metaphor in thought, and metaphor in
communication. Within metaphor in communication, he introduces the concept of
deliberate metaphor (p. 37). According to Steen, “deliberate metaphor is an
overt invitation on the part of the sender for the addressee to step outside
the dominant target domain of the discourse and look at it from an alien
source domain“ (p. 38). “Science is like a glacier“ is given as an example for
a deliberate use of a metaphor.

Similarly, in “Awareness in metaphor understanding. ‘The Lingering of the
Literal,‘“ Hanna Stöver emphasizes the importance of conscious awareness in
metaphor comprehension and processing from a Relevance Theory perspective. She
claims that “we are consciously aware of the literal meaning of a metaphorical
expression even if we know that it is not part of the propositional meaning
intended“ (p.68). Particularly for creative metaphors, there is a “tension“
(p. 69) between literal and figurative meaning. She argues that the greater
the tension, the higher the awareness of the metaphoricity of a given
expression, which in turn points to a metaphor being actively processed. To
support her claims, Stöver lists some introspectively collected translational

In “Productivity of Spanish verb-noun compounds. Patterns of metonymy and
metaphor,“ Jiyoung Yoon analyses the role that metaphor and metonymy as well
as their interaction play in the morphological process of compounding. In line
with common assumptions in metaphor research, Yoon understands metaphor as a
domain-external cognitive mapping from source to target and metonymy as a
domain-internal operation (p. 87). Yoon identifies seven types of Spanish
[V+N] compounds according to the referents they designate. He then provides an
analysis of how metaphor and metonymy interact in the creation of these
compounds identifying four different patterns: (i) only metonymy (ii) metonymy
derived from metaphor (iii) metaphor derived from metonymy and (iv) metaphor
interacting with metonymies.

Part two: Metaphor and / or metonymy across different discourse / genres
In “Motion metaphors in discourse construction,“ Joaquin Garrido argues that
discourse construction is both compositional and recursive: smaller units make
up larger ones, and preceding units connect to and influence the meaning of
following ones. In the construction of a discourse, metaphor can either
contribute to discourse structure (as is the case of extended metaphor, in
which the use of a single mapping creates coherence) or result from it (p.
124). He concludes by stating that motion metaphors are created and understood
in terms of a connection process including the syntactic and semantic
structure of sentences as well as textual structure and the whole discourse.

Elena Semino is one of the main figures in metaphor and discourse research. In
her contribution to this volume, “The adaptation of metaphors across genres,“
Semino explores how a metaphor first introduced in a specialist environment is
adapted for pedagogical purposes in other contexts. The specific metaphor
discussed is the GATE metaphor used to describe the mechanisms behind our
experience of pain, e.g. “These gates open and let pain messages through the
pain system, so that we feel pain.” (p. 144). Concluding, Semino states that
on the one hand the adaptation of the GATE metaphor to a broader range of
audience may facilitate the understanding of the complexities of human pain
experience; on the other hand, however, the modification and expansion
especially in terms of simplification may lead to inaccuracies.

In “Multimodal metonymy and metaphor as complex discourse resources for
creativity in ICT advertising discourse“, Laura Hidalgo Downing and Blanca
Kraljevic Mujic discuss how both phenomena may interact in multimodal
contexts. The authors present an analysis of how metonymy and metaphor give
rise to complex meaning in five information and communication technology
advertisements. In all cases, metonymy relates the new products to concrete,
familiar objects. As a second step, these objects then metaphorically stand
for entities in the ICT domain, for example INTERNET IS A HIGHWAY. It seems to
be a general pattern that the metonymically-understood concept is presented

Carmen Sancho Guinda and Ismael Arinas Pellón examine the language used in
engineering patents in “How patent can patents be? Exploring the impact of
figurative language on the engineering patent genre.“ In their analysis they
identify three components typical of patent discourse: ideational content, a
textual component and interpersonal meaning. In the main body, they analyze
the role of metaphor and metonymy in those three dimensions. The most frequent
metaphors are INVENTIONS / DEVICES ARE LIVING ORGANISMS, metaphors based on

In “Euphemistic conceptual metaphors in epitaphs from Highgate Cemetery,“
Eliecer Crespo Fernández explores the function of conceptual metaphor as a
purely euphemistic device in the specific discourse of epitaphs. An epitaph is
understood as a goal-oriented text aiming to both “indicate the identity and
resting place of the dead“ and comfort the bereaved (p. 204). In an authentic
corpus of 160 epitaphs from North London‘s Highgate Cemetery, Fernández
identifies seven conceptual source domains for death: a journey, a rest / a
sleep, a joyful life, a call from God, a loss and an end. Interestingly
enough, death in most cases is viewed as a positive event in order to provide
consolation to the bereaved. The author concludes that metaphor is a common
device mitigating a taboo like death.

Part three: The contemporary theory of metaphor: Current applications.
The first contribution by Frank Boers explores the application of CTM to
foreign language teaching. In “Cognitive Semantic ways of teaching figurative
phrases. An assessment,“ Boers reviews studies between 1996-2010 in that field
and summarizes the main tenets of how CTM may contribute to foreign language
teaching. In most studies, the experimental groups being introduced to
cognitive semantics  scored significantly better than the comparison groups
regarding vocabulary comprehension, retention and production. Apart from that,
Boers discusses three general aspects that have to be taken into account in
cognitive semantics informed pedagogy. First, rather than providing a tool for
deciphering newly encountered figurative phrases, CTM “deepens“ understanding
of figurative phrases (p. 246). Second, the use of pictorials may enhance
retention of meaning but it probably does not enhance retention of the exact
form of a figurative phrase. Third, different learning styles, the kind of
motivation for language learning and the level of proficiency may have an
impact on the effectiveness of cognitive semantics-informed pedagogy.
Concluding, he remarks that findings from cognitive semantics should
complement mainstream L2 teaching practice and not replace them.

The second contribution of this more applied part by Eva Samaniego Fernández
discusses “Translation Studies and the cognitive theory of metaphor.“ In
general, Translation Studies faces two issues: First, the translatability of
metaphor and second, procedures for translating metaphor. So far, these have
remained controversial issues. For the former, scholars propose a continuum
from translatable (which applies to dead or conventional metaphor) to
untranslatable (which applies to novel metaphors). Concluding, she remarks
that Translation Studies can benefit from more descriptive cognitive
approaches, instead of descriptive ones, which take into account the role of
culture played in the source text universe as well as the target text
universe. She furthermore acknowledges the role of the translator as an
intelligent agent who is influenced by both cultural and individual factors. 

In “Distinguishing near-synonyms and translation equivalents in metaphorical
terms. ‘Crises‘ vs. ‘recession‘ in English and Spanish,“ Ana María Rojo López
explores whether the near-synonyms exhibit differences when used in
metaphorical expressions. In order to pursue that aim, the author combines
corpus linguistics methodology, especially Stefanowitsch‘s Metaphorical
Pattern Analysis (2004, 2006), with an image sorting experiment. Her corpus
consists of English and Spanish Newspaper articles which were searched with
the help of ‘Webcorp.‘ Metaphorical patterns reveal, for example, that
‘crisis‘ tends to be conceptualized as an animate entity and occurs in dynamic
events whereas ‘recession‘ tends to be construed as an inanimate entity and
occurs in more static events. In addition to that, an experiment was conducted
which supports the corpus findings.


Part one nicely draws our attention to recent approaches to metaphor and also
offers new developments situating metaphor in a broader, more communicative
context. The paper by Kövecses provides a good overview of recent approaches.
It is especially valuable to students and young scholars who need to
familiarize themselves with the vast literature on metaphor and the different
perspectives taken therein. His analysis nicely complies with the overall aims
of the book in that it highlights the dynamic and interactive nature of
metaphor and metonymy in the construction of meaning. Nevertheless, it remains
an open question if meaning construction is based on similar mechanisms as
sketched out here for all metaphors. Several typologies of metaphor have been
identified suggesting that different types of metaphors rely on different
cognitive mechanisms (cf. Grady 1999, Gentner and Bowdle 2008, Ruiz de Mendoza
and Perez 2011).

In a similar fashion, Steen‘s paper presents a recent evaluation of CTM. In
suggesting a discourse-analytical framework which embeds metaphor within an
interdisciplinary context including its linguistic, psychological and social
dimension, his ideas strongly underline the volume‘s main aims. The notion of
deliberate metaphor which results from the introduction of a communicative
dimension to metaphor, however, remains controversial. Steen himself admits
that the concept is still in need of further theoretical elaboration and
empirical research (p. 43). A discussion about the term can also be found in
the first issue of “Metaphor and the Social World“ (2011). A strong criticism
in there is put forward by Gibbs who remarks that deliberateness is too
complex a phenomenon to make assumptions about just by looking at language
(2011: 46). 

Stöver‘s paper is in line with Steen in that it draws attention to awareness
of the metaphoricity of an expression. Although an interesting line of
research, the notion of metaphor deliberateness or awareness is highly
controversial, and the connection to how a metaphor is processed is far from
straightforward (cf. Gibbs 2011). Stöver‘stranslational asymmetries present
quite interesting examples, nevertheless, one has to bear in mind that those
were collected introspectively and thus only count as weak evidence for her

Apart from sketching out recent developments in CTM, it is one of the authors‘
main aims to highlight the function that metaphor and metonymy play in meaning
construction at larger units such as text or discourse. In the five
contributions of the second part, the reader is provided with interesting
applications of CTM to specific discourses. The contributions all highlight
the purposes that metaphor and metonymy fulfill in situated communicative

Garrido’s paper contributes to research in the field of metaphor and
discourse. In addition to bottom-up mechanisms, he emphasizes that
metaphorical meaning might be constructed in a top-down way on the basis of
discourse structure, a point which, to my knowledge, has received less

Elena Semino‘s paper is an excellent account of how a specialist metaphor may
be adapted to other less specialist and more educational contexts. She
provides a thorough analysis of the case in questions, listing linguistic,
conceptual and functional features of the GATE metaphor in different contexts.
Apart from her qualitative in-depth analysis, she interprets her findings from
a more general perspective suggesting typical features that enhance metaphor
adaption and general patterns that arise when scientific metaphors are adapted
to a greater variety of texts and to a broader range of audience.

Laura Hidalgo Downing and Blanca Kraljevic Mujic’s paper emphasizes that the
distinction between metaphor and metonymy seems one of the major problems yet
to be solved in cognitive linguistics. Multimodal contexts represent a
suitable objective in order to tackle that problem. The function of metonymy
as ‘anchoring‘ metaphor in complex meaning construction has also been
identified for metaphorical gestures (Mittelberg & Waugh 2009). However, as is
the problem with many studies regarding metaphor as well as metonymy, it is
not always made transparent how the authors identified figurative meanings and
why they labeled them in the way they did.

Guinda & Pellón‘s analysis is similar in that the delineation between metaphor
and metonymy is not always made clear. Furthermore, their corpus analysis,
unfortunately, is not made transparent. Nevertheless, their findings may serve
as a useful guide for teaching how to write patents because many typical
constructions are described and analyzed according to their potential semantic

Frank Boers‘ paper affords a  good start into the third and final part of the
volume presenting recent applications of CTM. Adopting “a devil‘s advocate
stance“ (p. 237), Boers critically inspects former findings and provides us
with possible reinterpretations and multiple factors to be taken into account,
thereby dampening striking effects that have been claimed by some of the
studies. Furthermore, Frank Boers‘ paper is especially valuable for teachers
who aim to incorporate findings from CTM into language teaching. 

The contribution by Samaniego Fernández complies with the volume’s overall
goal by calling for a more informed translation with respect to the
communicative function of metaphor. Furthermore, she calls for more
interdisciplinary approaches focusing on the role of the translator. Her
article is highly valuable for those operating in Translation Studies, as
metaphor still remains one of the main challenges translators have to face.

López‘s contribution presents a study that is methodologically well designed.
First of all, she is aware of the amount of intuition in metaphor analyses and
tries to avoid that by relying on MPA and basing her analysis on FrameNet.
Furthermore, she aims to complement her linguistic findings from the corpus
with psychological data. It is this kind of combined methodology which strives
for finding converging evidence that renders strong results. It is sometimes
doubtful, however, whether the stimuli used in her experiment were chosen
wisely. As the author notes herself, many of them are complex and factors not
controlled for may have influenced the subjects‘ decision (cf. p. 312).

Summarizing, this volume presents an interesting survey of various fields of
metaphor and metonymy research and application. Many contributions direct our
attention to the dynamic nature of these two tropes on various linguistic and
textual levels as well as call for a more situated and dynamic approach. The
book is valuable to both cognitive linguistic scholars as well as to teachers
and translators who wish to apply CTM. It has to be noted, however, that in
some parts the book is poorly edited and mistakes may distract the reader‘s
attention. Moreover, although the title suggest an equal discussion of
metaphor and metonymy, the majority of contributions focus on metaphor.


Gentner, D. & B. Bowdle. 2008. Metaphor as structure-mapping. In R.W. Gibbs
(Ed.). The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought. 109–128. New York: CUP.

Gibbs, R. W. 2011. Are “deliberate” metaphors really deliberate?: A question
of human consciousness and action. Metaphor and the Social World. 1(1). 26–52.

Grady, J. E. 1999. A typology of motivation for conceptual metaphor.
Correlation vs. resemblance. In R. W. Gibbs & G. J. Steen (Eds.). Metaphor in
cognitive linguistics. 79-100. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.

Lakoff, G. 1993. The contemporary theory of metaphor. In A. Ortony (Ed.).
Metaphor and Thought. 2. ed. 202-251. CUP.

Lakoff, G. & M. Johnson. 1999. Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and
Its Challenge to Western Thought. New Work: Basic Books.

Lakoff, G. & M. Johnson. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. University Of Chicago

Mittelberg, I. & L. R. Waugh. 2009. Metonymy first, metaphor second: A
cognitive-semiotic approach to multimodal figures of thought in co-speech
gesture. In C. J. Forceville & E. Urios-Aparisi (Eds.). Multimodal Metaphor.
329–356. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, F. J., & L. Pérez Hernández. 2011. The Contemporary
Theory of Metaphor: Myths, Developments and Challenges. Metaphor and Symbol.
26(3). 161–185.

Stefanowitsch, A. 2004. HAPPINESS in English and German: A
metaphorical-pattern analysis. In M. Achard & S. Kemmer (eds.). Language,
Culture, and Mind. 137-140. Standford: CSLI Publications.

Stefanowitsch, A. & S. Th. Gries 2006. Corpus-based Approaches to Metaphor and
Metonymy. Berlin, New Work: Mouton de Gruyter.


Currently, I am a PhD student at Leipzig University. I am in my third year. My
interests are conceptual metaphor theory and metonymy. My PhD explores the use
of these two tropes in the language that we use to describe classical musical
pieces. Apart from that I have a position at Zwickau University of Applied
Sciences where I teach technical English for mechanical and electrical

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