The contemporary theory of metaphor — now new and improved!

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This paper outlines a multi-dimensional/multi-disciplinary framework for the study of metaphor. It expands on the cognitive linguistic approach to metaphor in language and thought by adding the dimension of communication, and it expands on the predominantly linguistic and psychological approaches by adding the discipline of social science. This creates a map of the field in which nine main areas of research can be distinguished and connected to each other in precise ways. It allows for renewed attention to the deliberate use of metaphor in communication, in contrast with non-deliberate use, and asks the question whether the interaction between deliberate and non-deliberate use of metaphor in specific social domains can contribute to an explanation of the discourse career of metaphor. The suggestion is made that metaphorical models in language, thought, and communication can be classified as official, contested, implicit, and emerging, which may offer new perspectives on the interaction between social, psychological, and linguistic properties and functions of metaphor in discourse.


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