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Metaphor and the Social World

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ISSN 2210-4070
E-ISSN 2210-4097

The journal <em>Metaphor and the Social World</em> aims to provide a forum for researchers to share with each other, and with potential research users, work that explores aspects of metaphor and the social world. The term “social world” signals the importance given to context (of metaphor use), to connections (e.g. across social, cognitive and discourse dimensions of metaphor use), and to communication (between individuals or across social groups). The journal is not restricted to a single disciplinary or theoretical framework but welcomes papers based in a range of theoretical approaches to metaphor, including discourse and cognitive linguistic approaches, provided that the theory adequately supports the empirical work. Metaphor may be dealt with as either a matter of language or of thought, or of both; what matters is that consideration is given to the social and discourse contexts in which metaphor is found. Furthermore, “metaphor” is broadly interpreted and articles are welcomed on metonymy and other types of figurative language. A further aim is to encourage the development of high-quality research methodology using metaphor as an investigative tool, and for investigating the nature of metaphor use, for example multi-modal discourse analytic or corpus linguistic approaches to metaphor data. The journal publishes various types of articles, including reports of empirical studies, key articles accompanied by short responses, reviews and meta-analyses with commentaries. The Forum section publishes short responses to papers or current issues.

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  • Are ‘deliberate’ metaphors really deliberate?: A question of human consciousness and action
    • Author: Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr.
    • Source: Metaphor and the Social World, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2011, pages: 26 –52
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    • Some metaphor scholars have proposed that certain notable metaphorical expressions in speech and writing may have been deliberately composed, and quite consciously employed for their special rhetorical purposes. Deliberate metaphors are different from conventional ones, which are typically produced automatically and thoughtlessly, something that speakers and listeners, authors and readers, tacitly recognize when they engage in metaphoric discourse. This article explores some of these common assumptions about deliberate metaphor in light of contemporary research in cognitive science on meaning, consciousness and human action. My claim is that deliberate metaphors, contrary to the popular view, may not be as ‘deliberate’ in their creation and use as is traditionally believed, and therefore are not essentially different from other forms of metaphoric language. Moreover, engaging in deliberative thought processes is often exactly the wrong way to create novel, apt verbal metaphors.
  • What does ‘really deliberate’ really mean?: More thoughts on metaphor and consciousness
  • The GOOD IS LIGHT and BAD IS DARK metaphor in feature films
    • Authors: Charles J. Forceville, and Thijs Renckens
    • Source: Metaphor and the Social World, Volume 3, Issue 2, 2013, pages: 160 –179
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    • Light and darkness can be used metaphorically to help structure good and bad in all media, but film is particularly suitable for exploiting such metaphors. On the basis of examples from three feature films, we discuss in what way the metaphor functions in general and suggest how it allows for a degree of creative play. Moreover, it is pointed out how the metaphor usually interacts with other narratologically salient elements in order to achieve its specific, context-dependent effects. The paper ends with suggestions how the study of this and other conceptual metaphors in film may benefit both metaphor and film scholarship.
  • An examination of the validity of metaphor analysis studies: Problems with metaphor elicitation techniques
    • Author: Wan Wan
    • Source: Metaphor and the Social World, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2011, pages: 261 –287
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    • The last decade has seen a large number of studies employing metaphor elicitation techniques, especially using ‘X is (like) Y’ format to investigate language teachers’ and learners’ understandings of teaching and/or learning. Although a few recent studies have reported the proportion of unsuccessful answers to this type of task, and identified a number of issues connected with task difficulty, there appears to be little published work that has seriously addressed the validity of the method used. The aims of this paper are therefore to explore the discourse and contexts where failure/difficulty with the metaphor elicitation task occurs, to try and understand what causes the problems and to suggest approaches to resolving them. In so doing, this paper reports on two small-scale metaphor analysis studies that were primarily designed to reduce the incidence of difficulty with ‘X is (like) Y’ metaphor prompts, presenting the perceived reasons for the difficulties and discussing possible solutions by introducing training in the form of four ready-made metaphor related teaching sessions. Essentially, I argue that training both about metaphor and in using it are important, and that thought needs to be given to both the nature and the length of training. The hope is that the present paper can be a first step and will serve to shed light on the ways that can be employed by metaphor researchers to identify and then resolve their methodological problems.
  • Forensic deliberations on ‘purposeful metaphor’
    • Author: Jonathan Charteris-Black
    • Source: Metaphor and the Social World, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2012, pages: 1 –21
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    • The concept of ‘purposeful metaphor’ is proposed as an alternative to ‘deliberate metaphor’ (Steen, 2008) in providing a theory of metaphor in discourse and communication. The case for ‘purposeful metaphor’ is framed within a discussion of intentionality in a murder trial. It is argued that ‘deliberateness’ originates in epistemologies based in language use, but is not valid for epistemologies that distinguish between conscious and unconscious thought process; in literary studies it is known as the ‘intentional fallacy’. However, considerations of intention are relevant in critical metaphor analysis that seeks insight into the social and political motivation of metaphor. Insights from Speech Act Theory and rhetorical theory suggest that ‘deliberate metaphor’ could be modified to ‘purposeful metaphor’ because we conceptualise ‘purpose’ in terms of a SOURCE (or idea), a PATH (or rhetorical plan) to realise a GOAL (or rhetorical outcome). ‘Purposeful metaphor’ therefore integrates the source (or idea behind) path, (or rhetorical plan), and goal, (or rhetorical outcome) of metaphor, while ‘deliberate metaphor’ only profiles its inception. Illustrations are given of how ‘purposeful metaphor’ contributes to an explanation of metaphor use in political and legal discourse, and other persuasive genres. Linguistic evidence for purposefulness is in the interaction between textually complex use of metaphor and contextual features such as political purpose or describing medical conditions.
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