Cognitive Semantics - Metaphor


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Cognitive Semantics - Metaphor

  1. 1. Cognitive semanticsMetaphorsAdmilsonIngrid NetoJoão Paulo FerrazSabrina Palladino SimasTópicos de Semântica – Profa. Dra. Elizabeth Harkot de La Taille
  2. 2. Metaphors• Admilson - Theoretical aspects• Sabrina – Power of Metaphors and its uses• Ingrid – Metaphor in Literature• João Paulo – Translation Theories
  3. 3. Theoretical aspects• Definition– "a figure of speech containing an impliedcomparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily andprimarily used of one thing is applied to another”– one thing in common: a situation is compared to areal thing, although the situation is not actually thatparticular thing(
  4. 4. Theoretical aspects• Terminology– Target domain/ tenor• (described concept)– Source domain/vehicle• (analogy)
  5. 5. Theoretical aspects“Movie studios love a good fight, and a bad one too.But the Oscar battles have become trench warfare anddirty tricks.”“... a (Oscar) best actress race that has taken on heatas longtime prohibitive favourite Sissy Spacek hassuddenly caught a glimpse of Halle Berry in her rearview mirror.”Target / Vehicle (real thing)Source / Tenor (situation)
  6. 6. Theoretical aspects• Traditional positions on the role of metaphor– Classical (can be traced back to Aristotle)• a kind of decorative addition to ordinary plainlanguage• a rhetorical device to be used at certain times to gaincertain effects• a departure from literal language, detected asanomalous by the hearer– Romantic (18th/19th century view of imagination)• is integral to language and thought as a way ofexperiencing the world.• all language is metaphorical• there is no distinction between literal and figurative
  7. 7. Theoretical aspects• Approaches– many approaches and theories aboutmetaphors (interdisciplinary subject)– involved not only in grammar andsemantics, but:• Historical linguistics• Categories of thought• Poetic language• Rhetoric• Ethics
  8. 8. Theoretical aspects• Metaphors in Cognitive Semantics– Extension of the Romantic view– Although metaphors are everywhere inlanguage, not all language is metaphorical• Features of metaphors (not anomalous)– Conventionality (novelty)– Sistematicity (possibility of extension)– Asymmetry (does not work in both directions)– Abstraction (typically viewing abstract throughconcrete)
  9. 9. The Power of Metaphor ...Metaphors are very powerful things.They are cognitive super conductors that allow usto process and comprehend complex, metaphysicaland conceptual ideas with succinct efficiency.Moreover the power of metaphorgoes beyond just thecondensing of information andallows for emotional weight tobe embedded into meaning.
  10. 10. ... and its uses• Metaphors in movies» Movie metaphors have added depth andmeaning to thousands of otherwiseunremarkable scenes. Movies – even badones – are full of metaphors.» Death, lust and love metaphors are probablythe most common, though metaphors formore complex themes like the loss ofinnocence or the battle between good andevil or the struggle between heart and mindrun rampant in both classic and modern film.
  11. 11. ... and its uses• Some exemples» Citizen Kane . Pleasantville . The Red Violin .Avatar . The Wizard of Oz . Planet of theApes . Toy Story
  12. 12. ... and its uses• Metaphor in news“There is probably no other discursivepractice, besides everydayconversation, that is engaged in sofrequently and by so many peopleas news in the press and ontelevision”(van Dijk, 1991, p. 110)Metaphorical language innews texts has widelybeen studied with the aimof revealing ideologiesand persuasive effects inpolitical discourse(e.g. Chiang & Duann, 2007; Kitis &Milapides, 1997; Musolff, 2006;Zinken, 2003)Example:
  13. 13. COCAFreq: 44in magazines andnewspapers(1990 – 2012)... and its uses• Metaphor in newsIts uses increase together with capitalism !One was from“watchesadvertising”
  14. 14. ... and its uses• Metaphor in music
  15. 15. Metaphor in Literaturea) Understanding of a character, object orideab) Mapping of Visual ImagesMy husband and child smiling out of thefamily photo;Their smiles catch onto my skin, littlesmiling hooks.(Tulips, Sylvia Plath)
  16. 16. Why is Metaphor Importantto Literature?Linguistic choices in literary texts can deviate from generallinguistic norms andconventions. The use of linguistic deviation foregrounds aparticular text, and potentially refreshesthe reader’s attitudes and worldviews.The use of metaphorical expressions is seenas a particular type of linguistic deviationinvolving the semantic level oflanguage, since metaphorical statementsare, if taken literally, illogical, absurd, ornonsensical.
  17. 17. “Boy, his bed was like a rock.” (The Catcher in the Rye)= His bed was extremely uncomfortable“They both laughed like hyenas at stuff that wasnt even funny.”(The Catcher in the Rye) = They laughed exaggeratedly“He was eager to help but his legs were rubber” (The LongGoodbye)= He did not have strength to move his legs"All the worlds a stage and men and women merelyplayers” (As You Like It) = Metaphor comparing life to aplay“She heard the click of the typewriter. It was herlife, and, bending her head over the hall table, shebowed beneath the influence, felt blessed andpurified, saying to herself, as she took the pad with thetelephone message on it, how moments like this arebuds on the tree of life, flowers of darkness theyare, she thought” (Mrs. Dalloway)
  18. 18. Translation Theories• Can “Metaphor” Be Translated?, M. B. Dagut(source:– Nina Elin Brevik (specialist translator between English andScandinavian languages)– Translated or Reproduced?ex: bible lamb… Inuit people inAlaska?(source:
  19. 19. Translation TheoriesThe Lamb of God(English)...
  20. 20. Translation TheoriesLamb???
  21. 21. Translation Theories• How is that possible??!?– As per Searles speech act theory:• Statement must be recognized as false, literallyspeaking• There must be features which apply and otherswhich cannot, semantically speakingTherefore...
  22. 22. Translation Theories– Point of contact– Point of differentiationWhy are you so blue today??“He isn’t blue!!!”Point of differentiationAh, ok!! Metaphor!!
  23. 23. Can “Metaphor” Be Translated?Hands-on ExperienceMetaphorinEnglishPoint ofDifferentiationPoint ofContactOur suggestionof “Translationor ReproductionProvidesbig boost ifyou areblue!(COCA)Human color isnot blue??? Caidinho?It’s a dog-eat-dogworld!(COCA)Dogs don’t eatdogs...??? Mundo-cão
  24. 24. Metaphors with animalsMetaphorinEnglishPoint ofDifferentiationPoint ofContactOur suggestion of“Translation orReproductionShe is afox!!Not an animal ??? Que gata!Yes, I aman ox, likemy father.(COCA)Not an animal ??? O cara é um touro!Well, ifyou are alamb...(COCA)Not an animal ??? Somos todoscordeirinhos aqui!!
  25. 25. Metaphors with fruit/vegetableMetaphor inEnglishPoint ofDifferentiationPoint ofContactOur suggestion of“Translation orReproductionMy car is areal cannot beanything elsethan cars!??? Esse carro é umabacaxi!Those guysare couchpotatoes!they aredefinetelyhuman!??? ???What is he,nuts?(COCA)again, people ??? O cara é pinéu!!Protect yournuts!!... ambiguous!!Has he justbought nuts????? Obscuremeaning... we didntget that one!!!
  26. 26. ReferencesCoCA: <>Ngrams: <>KRENNMAYR, Tina. Metaphors in Newspapers. University Amsterdam. 2011. Available at:<>MIKEJONES.TV JOURNAL: <><><>Dagut, M. B. Can “Metaphor” Be Translated?, Babel, 1976, apud <>STEEN, Gerard, "Metaphor in Literature". In: The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor andThought. Cambridge University Press, 2008.SAEED, John. "Cognitive Semantics". In: Semantics, Wiley-Blackwell, 3 edition, 2009.YOURDICTIONARY EXAMPLES. Examples. Metaphor Examples. 06/04/2013<>GIBBON, Dafydd, Semantic Universals. Meaphors, metonymy. (2005) UBielefeld, Fakultät für Linguistik und LiteraturwissenschaftProfilmodul 1: DescriptiveLinguistics