Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
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This study looks into the patterns of metaphor use in the family register of scripted sitcom conversations. Previous studies of metaphor in conversation adopted different approaches to the concept of register, resulting in a rich but complex picture ( Cameron, 2003 , 2007 , 2008 ; Deignan, Littlemore & Semino, 2013 ; Kaal, 2012 ). This research attempts to reduce such complexity by using an approach to register based on closely defining communicative settings and the participants’ roles ( Giménez-Moreno, 2006 ). In this way, we were able to focus on the register used by family members and close friends and the contexts of private oral communication, as opposed to other possible registers characteristic of professional conversations or those between friends. The study provides data on the frequency, typology, grammatical form and function of the metaphors used in the fictional dialogues between family members and close friends from two British sitcoms, “Gavin & Stacey” and “The Royle Family”. The findings, in general, confirm the patterns of metaphor use in naturally-occurring (UK) conversation, but show lower frequency ranges than other more purpose-oriented contexts. The main contribution of this study is the evaluation of metaphor as an ‘appraisal resource’ ( Martin & White, 2005 ) and its frequent use in assessing the participants’ attitudes. The study suggests that defining register in terms of communicative setting and participants’ roles can help to provide comparable data on metaphor variation.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): appraisal; conversation; metaphor; register
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