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Lecture

ANT253H1 Lecture Notes - Gustav Fechner, Proverb, Synecdoche


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT253H1
Professor
Marcel Danesi

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Chapter 7
Metaphor
a linguistic feature that describes the relationship between language and thought
they are commonly seen in everyday language e.g being cool/lukewarm about something
this shows we perceive feelings the same way we describe physical conditions
Roger Brown
A psycholinguist who explained this feelings and physical conditions correlation
His quote explained that when we sense something first, we tend to extend that sense to
describe other experiences.
Cognitive linguistics
approach to the study of language as a system of concepts grounded in metaphor
Both cognitive linguistics and linguistic anthropology share the same goals
Boar, Sapir, whorf are refered to as linguistic anthropologist
But they can also be seen as cognitive linguist today since they saw metaphor as a means of
adding a meaning to the system
Cognitive linguistics is really the modern version of the linguistic anthropology
Linguistic versus Conceptual Metaphors
Aristotle coined the term Metaphor (meta = beyond; Pherein = to carry)
explained how abstract concepts(e.g. Life) can be thought of in concrete ways
Life is a stage – theatre is used as a metaphor for life- gives life a concrete meaning
That is why people say my life is a comedy or a farce
Combination of two semantically unrelated referents
The professor is a snake consits of 2 unrelated referents
Primary referent = Professor known as the topic of the metaphor
Secondary referent= Snake known as the vehicle of the metaphor (a referent used to understand
the personality of the professor)
The combination of the sentence= the ground where the meaning is derived not from the sum
of the two referents but rather as the meaning transferred from the vehicle to the topic
we can imaginge the professor turning into a snake now
It is not the denotative meaning of snake that is transferred; it's the connatations – cultural
specific charecteristics seen in snakes = slyness, danger, etc.
This complex of connotiations produces the ground
Blending of lexical fields (human personality with animals)
allows us to understand abstractions
St. Thomas Aquinas (in his Summa Theologica) claimed that in Holy Scriptures, the writers
compared spiritual truth to material things because that was the only way humans could
understand it; “metaphor was a tool of cognition, not a feature of rhetorical flourish”
Giambattisa Vico in support of St. Thomas Aquinas said that metaphor was evidence of how
knowledge comes from senses
he described out ability to create metaphors as poetic logic
like Aristotle, he saw me saw metaphors as a way to explain abstract concepts such as life
He further claimed that metaphors are spercifically used to describe the unfamilar concepts
with those familiar and at hand.
Two parts of the metaphor suggest each other phenomenologically - by saying life is a
stage, we are also saying stages are life; they imply each other
This view was largely ignored

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G.W.F Hegel and John Sruart
continued arguing metaphor is nothing more than a decorative accessory to language
Immanual Kant
in his Critique of Pure Reason explained that figurative language is the proff of how mind tries
to understand unfamiliar things
Friedrich Nietzsche
saw Metaphor as humanity's greatest flaw
It gives the unconscious power to persuade people into believing things on its own terms
Human thought can be divident into 2 domains
1. The domain of Perception- consists of impressions and sensations
2.. The domain of conception- the ideas that mind make from perception
This linkage of impressions in conception is imprinted in the structure of metaphor – it distorts
the true perception of things
Metaphor can hence be seen as a source of superstition
neietsche described metaphor as a linguistic self-fulfilling prophecy
Gustav Theodor Fechner and Wilhelm Wundt
encouraged interest in metaphor as a trace of human cognition instead of just a figure of speech
Were the first to conduct experiments on people processed figurative language
Karl Buhler
gathered data on how people paraphrased and recalled proverbs
For example he found that it was easier to recall a proverb if it was linked to second proverb
he thus concluded that metaphorical-associative thinking was an effective memory retrival tool
Gestalt psychologists
Like Vico and Nietzche saw metaphor as how we form abstractions from sensory perceptions
Richards – a literary thoerist not a psychologist
in his book The philosophy of Rhetoric claimed that metaphors are not stylistic devised used as
a replacement for literally meaning
instead they produce a new meaning completely that could never be achieved by literal
paraphrase – (***can be used in the essay?)
e.g. the semantic interaction between life and stage – the two catagories overlap significantly
Poems
metaphors can be seen as a “sense producing” power – allowing us to glean sense from the
images in the poem
Fables
extended metaphorical tale where animals/trees/natural objects are used as vehicles to
understand human personality
Max Black
expanded Richards' theory
In John is a Gorilla, both John and Gorilla fit as a subcatagory of animals
This kind of linkage can also be implied to science where a scientific theory is simply a
metaphorical inference
Charles Pierce – refered to this as an abduction or informed hunch
Howard Pollio
conducted a study called Psychology and the Poetics of Growth: Figurative language in
psychology, psychotherapy and education
showed that metaphors are found in the everyday speech and spiked a huge interest in research
on metaphors
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confirmed that metaphors are not merely a sylistic accessory
Collection of Studies
Metaphor and Thought – by Andrew Ortony
Cognition and Figurative Language – by Richard P. Honeck and Robert R. Hoffman
Metaphors we live by- a famous book by George Lakeoff and Mark Johnson
These studies set the groundwork for Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT)
CMT
mainly emphasized that metaphors are seen in common language not just poetic or rhetorical
Metaphors can be more instinctive than literal interpretations in some situations
e.g. The murder is an animal – you would not not think about an actual animal unless
specifically told
another critical finding by CMT- nonsense or anomolous strings
Noam Chomsky
used such strings to show that we process syntax seperately from a language
these strings sound like real sentences because they are put together correctly
Colourless green ideas sleep furiously
His study found that we tend to extract metaphorical meaning for these well formed strings
Winner
claimed that if we were strictily limited to literal language, our communication would be highly
limited if not stopped all together
CMT- continuation
another critical finding - metaphors are high in mental imagery- conclusion by Bilow
it was also found that visually impaired people seem to have the same kind of imagery with
metaphors
Kennedy found that blind people can make appropriate line drawings of metaphorial concepts
shows that metaphor is the product of intersensory knowing
Lakeoff and Johnson
made CMT attractive to a larger audience
The agree with Aristotle that there are two types of concepts: concrete and Abstract
They further emphasized that abstract concepts are not independent of concrete concepts,
instead they are simply metaphorical extensions of them
They renamed the abstract concept = conceptual metaphor
Deriving the abstract metaphorical idea that People are animals from The Professor is a snake
is an example of a conceptual metaphor
People = the generic topic also called the target domain
Animals = the generic vehicle also called the source domain
Linguistic metaphor- is the actual specfic example of conceptual methapor (e.g. The Professor
is a snake)
Franz Kafka
wrote a scary short story Metamorphosis where a person wakes up and finds himself changed
into a monster
similarly metaphors allow picturing human personality in animal terms
Metaphors produce Whorfian effects (as described in the previous chapter?)
Examples of conceptual and linguistic metaphors used in everyday conversations
Happiness is up/ sadness is down (Conceptual metaphor)
I am feeling up (linguistic metaphor)
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