Multimodal metonymy and metaphor as complex discourse resources for creativity in ICT advertising discourse

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In this paper we carry out a study of multimodal metaphors in a corpus of 52 ICT advertisements published in English-speaking magazines during the period 1999–2002. The general theoretical framework adopted for this purpose is a combination of text world theory and of a multimodal approach to metaphor in discourse, which in turn draws from the principles of conceptual metaphor theory and of discourse theories. The main argument presented in this study is that metaphor is a key instrument in the presentation and negotiation of conventional and creative meanings in advertising discourse as a type of public discourse. More specifically, ICT advertisements during the time period 1999–2002 are particularly interesting for the study of metaphor because of the combination of conventional and innovative underlying concepts which are grounded in the specific socio-cultural context of recent advances in new technologies. In this sense, metaphor contributes to the discourse functions of display, by inviting the receiver to identify with fantasy worlds which are rooted in assumed patterns of socio-cultural behaviour and which are presented in the ad, and to the functions of persuasion and of cognitive change. First, we have identified and classified multimodal metaphors in the corpus according to their cognitive-functional type, then, following Semino (2008) we have identified predominant discourse patterns of metaphorical occurrences. Finally, we have identified the main resources for creativity in the advertisements. We have also studied how the combinations of individual micro-propositional metaphors give rise to extended metaphors which revolve around the megametaphor LIFE IS A CYBERSPACE JOURNEY. This megametaphor invites the receiver to reinterpret the more conventional metaphor LIFE IS A JOURNEY in terms of the new advances and experiences in society regarding IC technologies.


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