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Chapter 11. Mixing in pictorial and multimodal metaphors?

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Abstract

“Mixed metaphors” in language use two or more different source domains to predicate something about the same target domain in a short stretch of discourse. This often leads to unintendedly humorous results and is usually considered bad style. Given that metaphors may be expressed pictorially or multimodally as well as verbally, one may ask whether non-verbal modalities can also give rise to metaphors of the “mixed” kind. If so, would such instances be considered odd, humorous, or stylistically awkward? And what, if anything, would make such “mixed metaphors” different from metaphoric blends with three input spaces (one target and two sources)? The provisional conclusion is: we should, for the time being, not adopt “mixed pictorial/multimodal metaphor” as a technical term; but the discussion provides leads for further research from which both metaphor theory and multimodal discourse analysis will benefit.

References

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