Chapter 2. Mixed metaphors from a discourse dynamics perspective

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The ‘mixed metaphor problem’ is considered from the discourse dynamics perspective, examining instances from metaphor clusters in dialogue and interaction. Several types of multiple juxtaposed verbal metaphors are found but they rarely demonstrate the semantic dissonance or stylistic undesirability held characteristic of problematic mixed metaphors. Multiple verbal metaphors are not stylistically-tricky additions to the flow of talk but are constitutive of it, discursive resources that contribute to the flow of jointly-constructed meaning. Multiple metaphors are shown to result from and find coherence in: shifting discourse topics; anaphoric reference and lexico-conceptual pacts; being combined in coherent metaphorical scenarios; layering of conventionalised and systematic metaphors.The second part of the chapter demonstrates how multiple metaphors were selected and combined to form the basis of the new model of empathy~dyspathy dynamics in social science research, and reflects on the inevitability of mixing metaphors.


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