from linguistic to conceptual metaphor in five steps-libre

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  • 56 FRANK BOERS

    Kovecses, Zoltan. 1995. "The Container Metaphor of Anger in English, Chinese, Japanese and Hungarian". From a Metaphorical Point of View: A Multi-disciplinary Approach to the Cognitive Content of Metaphor, ed. hy Zdravdo Radman, 117-147, Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter.

    Lakoff, George. 1987. Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press;

    -------- 1990. "The Invariance Hypothesis: Is Abstract Reasoning Based on Schemas?" Cognitive Linguistics 1. 5-38.

    Miller, Arthur I. 1995. Imagery and Metaphor: The Cognitive Science Con" nection, ed. by Zdravko Radman, 1995. 199-224.

    Rigotti, Francesca. 1995. The House as Metaphor, ed. by Zdravko Radman, 4191-446. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter.

    Roediger, Henry L. 1980. "Memory Metaphors in Cognitive Psychology". Memory & Cognition 8. 231-246.

    LINGUISTIC TO CONCEPTUAL METAPHOR IN FIVE STEPS

    GERARD STEEN Tilburg University and Free University Amsterdam

    does the cognitive linguist get from linguistic metaphor to conceptual Is there a procedure for the determination of conceptual metaphor when has been encountered? These are the questions that are idressed in this chapter, which aims to build a bridge between linguistic and onceptual metaphor by proposing a series of five analytical steps. Together they

    the beginning of a procedure for conceptual metaphor identification in

    The procedure is meant to constrain the relation between linguistic and nceptual metaphor. It has sometimes remained an act of faith that particular .. taphors in language reflect particular metaphors in thought. This does not mean

    there is no linguistic support for the existence of conceptual metaphors. And there are many clear cases in which the name of a particular conceptual

    is used in a linguistic expression, as can be demonstrated by a brief at the by now classic list of references Lakoff & Johnson (1980), Johnson Lakoff (1987), Turner (1987), Lakoff & Turner (1989), and Lakoff(1993).

    these clear cases serve the purpose of demonstration; they have not been and exhaustively collected. from large stretches of discourse, but

    have been selected for persuasive power. Now that the theory of metaphor has been firmly established as one important component of

    theory of metaphor, providing one of the main inspirations to cognitive as a general approach to language, it is time to reverse the perspective.

    the question arises how stretches of discourse can be said to express conceptual metaphors as opposed to others, and this is a difficult issue.

    presupposes a generally accepted procedure of deriving conceptual metaphors lipguistic metaphors encountered in on-going discourse, and that is currently

    available. Most readers will be familiar with some of the examples of metaphorical

    between conceptual domains such as the following:

  • 58 GERARD STEEN

    THE LOVE-AS-A-JOURNEY MAPPING The lovers correspond to travelers. The love relationship corresponds to the vehicle. The lovers' common goals correspond to their common destinations one the journey. Difficulties in the relationship correspond to impediments to travel. (Lakoff,1993:207)

    But from the present perspective, these are at best the output of the last step of the envisaged procedure, and this would probably only hold in ideal cases. What I am interested in is to explicate the assumptions that lead linguists to arrive at such conceptual mappings in departing from metaphorical expressions in discourse. This chapter is a logical reconstruction of these assumptions in an attempt to reach agreement about the steps that are inevitable when one goes from linguistic to conceptual metaphor identification.

    It is noteworthy that this explication can be related to a number of theoretical issues which were previously discussed in the seventies, before the advent of conceptual metaphor theory as we now know it (Cohen & Margalith, 1972; Van Dijk, 1975; Reinhart, 1976; Cohen 1993; Miller 1993). In retrospect, most of these references can be seen as attempts to make the jump from linguistic to conceptual metaphor in one way or another, but they failed to do so in an optimal manner because of the lack of a well-developed conceptual theory of metaphor. The time is now ripe to return to these issues in order to put conceptual metaphor theory on a firmer linguistic footing. It is ironic that cognitive linguists are going out of their way to show that linguistic metaphor is fundamentally conceptual, but that in doing so, they have neglected the method for showing how they get from linguistic metaphor to conceptual metaphor in the first place.

    My recourse to these sources has one consequence which may be misleading and which has to be circumvented from the beginning. Some or most of the examples discussed by theorists in the seventies were not of the conventional kind that have since become popular in the literature. In present-day terms they might be seen as one-shot and often poetic metaphors rather than systematic conceptual metaphors. Moreover, I do not address the question whether my illustrations of metaphor are actually found in other expressions of a similar kind, which is the generally accepted approach to establishing conceptual metaphors in cognitive linguistics. These may be surprising features of a chapter titled "From linguistic to conceptual metaphor in five steps." However, I believe that they are actually immaterial to the purpose of this particular contribution, which is to reconstruct how the linguist gets from linguistic metaphor to conceptual metaphor. For methodologically speaking, the linguist has no a priori knowledge whether a

    FROM LINGUISTIC TO CONCEPtuAL METAPHOR IN FIVE STEPS 59

    particular expression is to be counted as a one-shot metaphor or as a systematic metaphor: he or she first has to identify metaphorical expressions and determine what the conceptual nature of the metaphorical expression in question is. Only once this has been achieved, can the metaphorical concept be examined as to its possible relation(s) with other metaphorical concepts, which then leads to a decision about one-shot conceptual metaphoricity versus systematic conceptual metaphoricity. Such a comparison across metaphors presupposes that the other metaphorical concepts have also been collected from discourse analysis in the same fashion. What I am focusing on, then, is the procedure for collecting such metaphorical concepts with the purpose of examining their systematic relations. If one insists on regarding as conceptual metaphors only those metaphors which are systematic (as opposed to one-shot metaphors), which I do not, then a sixth step will have to be added to the procedure, saying that the output of the first five steps is to be compared across large numbers of metaphors in order to establish more or less systematic groups of metaphorical concepts, labeling the largest systematic groups as conceptual metaphors.

    I have to add one more caveat from the beginning. I wish to emphasize that I am dealing with metaphor analysis, not metaphor understanding. Metaphor analysis is a task for the linguist who wishes to describe and explain the structure and function of language. Metaphor understanding is a cognitive process which is the object of investigation of psycho linguists and discourse psychologists who are conducting behavioral research. This chapter does not deal with behavior. This does not mean that it cannot make use of theories of metaphor understanding for the identification of specific stages in the analytical procedure; on the contrary, it would be odd if there were no connection between understanding and analysis. However, metaphor analysis is a goal-and norm-related activity in the pursuit of data collection. It is the intentional technical identification of conceptual metaphors from metaphorical language in discourse. This chapter is concerned with a logical reconstruction of the discrete steps involved in that activity.

    The logical reconstruction may then be transformed into a procedure for practical use in linguistic research. From the perspective of the cognitive linguist, who is interested in the analysis of discourse and the way it reflects concepts and cognition, it is essential that there is such a procedure for relating linguistic metaphor to conceptual metaphor in a reliable fashion. Ultimately, the cognitive linguist has to begin with stretches of discourse and determine which linguistic expressions are metaphorical and related to which conceptual metaphors, and this is no trivial matter. However, such a procedure is also important for constructing the link between cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics, in which precise descriptions of literal and nonliteral materials are needed for the development of well-controlled linguistic stimulus materials. Manipulating texts and expressions

  • 60 GERARD STEEN

    with a view to activating particular conceptual metaphors requires the same solid foundation in linguistic methodology.

    1. Metaphor focus identification The first step of the procedure involves the identification of metaphorical

    expressions in discourse. This naturally involves the theoretically thorny issue of the definition of metaphor itself. As it is the purpose of this contribution to present a procedure for conceptual metaphor identification, which in itself more or less presupposes that We know what a metaphor is, I will cut a long story short and make the following assumption. It seems best to adopt the most widely accepted definition of metaphor that is currently available, the Lakoffian one of metaphor as a set of correspondences between two conceptual domains, with linguistic

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