Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1877-9751
  • E-ISSN: 1877-976X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Verbal metaphor and also metonymy have been theorized from a conceptual perspective since Lakoff and Johnson published in the 1980s. However, the final years of the twentieth century saw a new approach into non-verbal monomodal or multimodal tropes (Forceville & Urios-Aparisi, 2009). In an attempt to expand upon the theorization and communicative functions of visual metonymies, this study aims to explore the meaning potential of metonymic representations of characters in a sample of six picture books which portray same-sex-parent families. A multimodal cognitive approach has been adopted to find out whether, and if so how, metonymic representations of characters contribute to the positive portrayal and acceptance of same-sex-parent families in children’s picture books. The results reveal that monomodal visual metonymies are essentially used to introduce new characters in the story and highlight important aspects of the plot which boost the acceptance of non-traditional families.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Barcelona, A.
    (2002) Clarifying and applying the notions of metaphor and metonymy within Cognitive Linguistics: An update. InR. Dirven & R. Pörings (Eds.), Metaphor and metonymy in comparison and contrast (pp.202–277). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110219197.207
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110219197.207 [Google Scholar]
  2. Cerrillo, P., & Yubero, S.
    (2007) Qué leer y en qué momento ‘What to read and when’. InP. Cerrillo & S. Yubero (Eds.), La formación de mediadores para la promoción de la lectura. Segunda Edición, ‘Training specialists in the promotion of reading’ (pp.285–293). Cuenca: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Evans, J.
    (Ed.) (2015) Challenging and controversial picture books. Creative and critical responses to visual texts. London & New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315756912
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315756912 [Google Scholar]
  4. Dziallas, K.
    (2019) The head and sexualized body parts as fruit and vegetables. Metaphor and the Social World, 92, 199–220. 10.1075/msw.18007.dzi
    https://doi.org/10.1075/msw.18007.dzi [Google Scholar]
  5. Forceville, Ch.
    (1996) Pictorial metaphors in advertising. London & New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203272305
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203272305 [Google Scholar]
  6. (2009) Metonymy in visual and audiovisual discourse. InE. Ventola & A. J. Moya-Guijarro (Eds.), The world told and the world shown: Multisemiotic issues (pp.57–74). Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. (2014) Relevance Theory as model for analyzing visual and multimodal vommunication. InD. Machin (Ed.), Visual Communication (pp.51–70). Berlin & New York: Mouton De Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110255492.51
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110255492.51 [Google Scholar]
  8. (2019) Developments in multimodal metaphor studies: A response to Górska, Coëgnarts, Porto and Romano and Muelas-Gil. InI. Navarro & I. Ferrando (Eds.), Current approaches to metaphor analysis in discourse (pp.367–378). Berlin & New York: Mouton De Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110629460‑017
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110629460-017 [Google Scholar]
  9. Forceville, Ch., & Urios-Aparisi, E.
    (Eds.) (2009) Multimodal metaphor. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110215366
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110215366 [Google Scholar]
  10. Hamilton, M., Anderson, D., Broaddus, M., & Young, K.
    (2006) Gender stereotyping and under-representation of female characters in 200 popular children’s picture books: A twenty-first century update. Sex Roles, 55, 757–65. 10.1007/s11199‑006‑9128‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-006-9128-6 [Google Scholar]
  11. Hidalgo-Downing, L., & Kraljevic-Mujic, B.
    (2011) Multimodal metonymy and metaphor as complex discourse resources for creativity in ICT advertising discourse. Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 9(1), 153–178. 10.1075/rcl.9.1.08hid
    https://doi.org/10.1075/rcl.9.1.08hid [Google Scholar]
  12. Lakoff, G.
    (1987) Women, fire, and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226471013.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226471013.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  13. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M.
    (1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Littlemore, J.
    (2015) Metonymy: hidden shortcuts in language, thought and communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781107338814
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107338814 [Google Scholar]
  15. McCabe, J., Fairchild, E., Grauerholz, L., Pescosolido, B., & Tope, D.
    (2011) Gender in twentieth-century children’s books: Patterns of disparity in titles and central characters. Gender & Society, 25(2), 197–226. 10.1177/0891243211398358
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243211398358 [Google Scholar]
  16. Moya-Guijarro, A. J.
    (2013) Visual metonymy in children’s picture books. Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 11(2), 336–352. 10.1075/rcl.11.2.08moy
    https://doi.org/10.1075/rcl.11.2.08moy [Google Scholar]
  17. (2014) A multimodal analysis of picture books for children: A systemic functional approach. London: Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. (2019) Textual functions of metonymies in Anthony Browne’s picture books: A multimodal approach. Text & Talk, 39(3), 389–413. 10.1515/text‑2019‑2034
    https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2019-2034 [Google Scholar]
  19. Nodelman, P.
    (1988) Words about pictures: The narrative art of children’s picture books. Athens, GA: University of Georgia.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Painter, C., Martin, J., & Unsworth, L.
    (2013) Reading visual narratives: Image analysis of children’s picture books. London: Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Pinar, M. J.
    (Ed.) (2013) Special Issue: Multimodality and Cognitive Linguistics. Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 11(2). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. (Ed.) (2015) Multimodality and Cognitive Linguistics. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/bct.78
    https://doi.org/10.1075/bct.78 [Google Scholar]
  23. Rowell, E.
    (2007) Missing! Picture books reflecting gay and lesbian families. Make the curriculum inclusive for all children. Young Children, 62(3),24–30.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Ruiz de Mendoza, F. J.
    (2000) The role of mapping and domains in understanding metonymy. InA. Barcelona (Ed.), Metaphor and metonymy at the crossroads: A cognitive perspective (pp.109–132). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Ruiz de Mendoza, F. J., & Diez, I. O.
    (2002) Patterns of conceptual interaction. InR. Dirven & R. Pörings (Eds.), Metaphor and metonymy in comparison and contrast (pp.489–532). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110219197.489
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110219197.489 [Google Scholar]
  26. Pérez-Sobrino, P.
    (2017) Multimodal metaphor and metonymy in advertising. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/ftl.2
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ftl.2 [Google Scholar]
  27. Radden, G., & Kövecses, Z.
    (1999) Towards a theory of metonymy. InK. Panther and G. Radden (Eds.), Metonymy in language and thought (pp.17–59). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/hcp.4.03rad
    https://doi.org/10.1075/hcp.4.03rad [Google Scholar]
  28. Sperber, D., & Wilson, D.
    (1985) Relevance: Communication and cognition. Second Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Sunderland, J.
    (2012) Language, gender and children’s fiction. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Sunderland, J., & McGlashan, M.
    (2012) Stories featuring two-mum and two-dad families. InJ. Sunderland (Ed.), Language, gender and children’s fiction (pp.142–172). London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Villacañas, B., & White, M.
    (2013) Pictorial metonymy as creativity source in Purificación García advertising campaigns. InL. Hidalgo & B. Kraljevic (Eds.), Metaphorical creativity across modes: Special issue of Metaphor and the Social World, 3(2),220–239. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Yu, N.
    (2009) Nonverbal and multimodal manifestations of metaphors and metonymies: A case study. InC. Forceville & E. Urios-Aparisi (Eds.), Multimodal metaphor (pp.119–143). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Yus, F.
    (2009) Visual metaphor versus verbal metaphor: a unified account. InC. Forceville & E. Urios-Aparisi (Eds.), Multimodal metaphor, (pp.47–172). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Bryan, J., & Hosler, D.
    (2006) The different dragon. USA: Two Lives Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Clay, G. A., & Krebs, L.
    (2008) Why don’t I have a daddy?Bloomington: Author House.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. De Haan, L., & Nijland, S.
    (2004) King and king and family. Berkeley: Tricycle Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Newman, L., & Dutton, M.
    (2011) Donovan’s big day. Berkeley: Tricycle Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Oelschlager, V., Backwood, K., & Blanc, M.
    (2010) A tale of two daddies. China: Vanita Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Richardson, J., Parnell, P., & Cole, H.
    (2005) And Tango makes three. New York & London: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): metonymy; multimodality; picture books; same-sex-parent families
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error