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11. Systematicity in metaphor and the use of invariant mappings

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Abstract

I argue that the origin of the apparent systematicity found in families of related metaphors lies not in ontologically-rich skeletal source domain schemas with slots that map to target domain correspondents. This suggests a rigidity which is inappropriate, and misses significant cross- metaphor generalisations. Instead, I claim that metaphors utilise just a few core source-target correspondences. Users can extend and elaborate upon these, and by doing so give the impression of a systematic exploitation of a domain, by incorporating into the utterance any aspect of the user’s encyclopaedic knowledge that can be linked to the core correspondences. However, this linkage is subject to the constraint that any conclusions then drawn about the source domain meaning must ultimately be grounded in specific types of information or meaning that transfer invariantly between source and target as adjuncts to the core correspondences. It is in these invariant mappings that systematicity is to be found.

References

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