Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Volume 5
  • ISSN 1572-0268
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0276
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Theoretical and methodological challenges presented by studying metaphor in its discourse environment are addressed. Complex dynamic systems theory provides a theoretical ‘discourse dynamics’ framework for describing metaphor in face-to-face conversation, and more generally, as a phenomenon that is at once linguistic, cognitive, affective and socio-cultural. Empirical data from post-conflict reconciliation conversations illustrate the procedures of metaphor-led discourse analysis, using metaphor to investigate patterns of talking and thinking. Identification of linguistic metaphors is followed by the extraction of patterns of metaphor use, which include metaphor clusters and ‘systematic metaphors’. Connections are made between metaphor in on-line talk, patterns of metaphor use in discourse events and metaphor in socio-cultural life. The final section of this article discusses whether the differences found between metaphor as hypothesised in conceptual metaphor theory and metaphor in real-world discourse reflect an essential incompatibility or can be used more positively in developing cognitive approaches to metaphor.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): complex dynamic systems; discourse; metaphor
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