2

METAPHOR AND THE DICTIONARY

Root Analogies

2.1. INTRODUCTION

In Chapter 1 we established the important distinction between Active and Inactive metaphors. We labelled the latter “Tired”, “Sleeping” and “Dead”, and kept open the option that they might be “Buried”. Inactive metaphors become Lexicalized, that is acquire a second conventional meaning and find their way into the dictionary. Chapters 2 and 3 are concerned with these relatively Inactive and Lexicalized metaphors from two aspects. Chapter 3 demonstrates how processes of word-formation involve metaphor, and what effects the various kinds of word-class and derivation have on metaphorical interpretation. Chapter 2 reports on research into the ways in which certain basic analogies, first proposed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980), can be seen as structuring the lexicon of English. I give a guided tour of the metaphorical lexicon using a map (Figure 2.1) of these analogies. I then comment on the importance of metonymy as the basis for metaphor and on the interplay between the various metaphorical lexical sets. In particular I illustrate the claim that different Vehicles allow us to highlight different features of the same Topic, using as a case study the diverse Vehicles for language found in the English dictionary.

This chapter builds on the work of Lakoff and Johnson (1980), Lakoff (1987), Johnson (1987), Lakoff and Turner (1989) and Sweetser (1990) and gives evidence for their Experiential Hypothesis. This is based on the fact that we have certain preconceptual experiences as infants, such as experiences of body movements, our ability to move objects, to perceive them as wholes and retain images of them; and certain image-schemata which recur in our everyday bodily experience, e.g. containers, paths, balance, up and down, part and whole, front and back. The hypothesis claims that most abstract concepts arise from these preconceptual physical experiences by metaphorical projection (Lakoff and Johnson 1980:267-8). So, for example, abstract concepts like amount are conceptualized by metaphorical projection from the bodily experience of up and down, giving rise to a number of Lexicalized metaphors:

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The Language of Metaphors
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Tables x
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Metaphorical and Literal Language 14
  • 2 - Metaphor and the Dictionary 41
  • 3 - Metaphor and the Dictionary 82
  • 4 - How Different Kinds of Metaphors Work 107
  • 5 - Relevance Theory and the Functions of Metaphor 137
  • 6 - The Signalling of Metaphor 168
  • 7 - The Specification of Topics 198
  • 8 - The Specification of Grounds 229
  • 9 - The Interplay of Metaphors 255
  • 10 - Metaphor in Its Social Context 283
  • Notes 329
  • References 335
  • Texts Used for Examples and Analysis (and Abbreviations Used in References) 342
  • Index 347
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