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Chapter 7 notes.odt

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Marcel Danesi

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 – Apsycholinguist 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 – likeAristotle, 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 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 – 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 withAristotle that there are two types of concepts: concrete andAbstract – 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) – Knowledge is light; ignorance is darkness (conceptual metaphor) – That's an obscure theory (linguistic metaphor) We do not detect these metaphors because of their repeated usage Lakeoff and Johnson again – traced the source of conceptual metaphors to unconscious image schemas – These images convert concrete concepts (perceived animal behaviour) to vehicles necessary to better understand abstractions (e.g. human personality) Root metaphors – conceptual metaphors based ons sensation and perception – e.g. some common root metaphors for mind/thinking processes – vision – flash of insight – a bright mind – touching and grasping – apprehend – from latin -to hold of – intelligence – from latin- to pick – discern- from latin to seperate – Similar root metaphors in other unrelated languages – Hebrew- liptos = to grasp means to understand – Japanese- yoin = reverbrating sound means human feelings – Not all words for minds are necessarily root metaphors (e.g. contemplate- from Latin means temple; most ones are considered sense based root metaphors Edie – explained how the origin of metaphor is lost due to repeated usage Lakeoff and Johnson- one last time – explains in their book how cultural groupthink is built on conceptual metaphors – this is done by “higher order” metaphorical thinking – as target domains associate with more and more source domains – they form idealized cognitive models (ICMs) – E.g. Ideas/theories = target domain; – Sight (I don't see the point of your idea) – Geometry (Those ideas are parallel) – Plants ( That is a budding new theory) – Food ( I cannot digest those ideas) – ICM = the sum of source domains for a specific target domain – These source domains can overlap and be used within the same sentence – Language = a network of source domains Which ICMs are more or less productive in a culture? – Can be answered by simply counting the number of source domains – Ideas = estimated 89
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