Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1877-9751
  • E-ISSN: 1877-976X
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This paper offers a systematic, bottom-up, investigation of the role of adjectives as metaphor signals in metaphorical domain constructions (MDCs) such as ‘budgetary anorexia’ and ‘economic crash’ within the framework of Deliberate Metaphor Theory (e.g., Steen, 2017). To this end, we analyse all MDCs in the VU Amsterdam Metaphor Corpus. Results of our analyses demonstrate that domain adjectives in MDCs do not by definition constitute signals of metaphor, and that not all nouns in MDCs are identified as potentially deliberate metaphors. We identify three different functions of domain adjectives: (1) signal of novel metaphor; (2) signal of conventional metaphor; (3) non-signal. The analyses in this paper provide new insights into both the role of domain adjectives in MDCs, and the position of MDCs as a typical manifestation of potentially deliberate metaphor.


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