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When Zidane is not simply Zidane, and Bill Gates is not just Bill Gates

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Abstract

The present chapter deals with the problem of the construction of meaning of figuratively used personal names in the basic constructional schema Det + Xpersonal name + <i>of Y</i>. After a brief overview of two currently dominant philosophical approaches to problems of reference that are at odds with cognitive linguistic views, we proceed to outline a path along which their meaning is developed in several successive steps. The starting point is the enlistment of our total encyclopedic knowledge about the bearers of proper names organized in complex matrixes of domains. We outline how figurative meanings arise in a step by step fashion, involving tiers of metonymic mappings interspersed with metaphoric mappings. In doing so we also demonstrate that the paragon model can be elaborated in such a way that specific mappings become well motivated.The process of the construction of figurative meaning is shown to be complex, dynamic and flexible. Its output can be revised at every step, further enriched with information, or subsequently depleted of it, depending on the cognitive operations employed.

References

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