8

THE SPECIFICATION OF GROUNDS

8.1. INTRODUCTION
To see how far we have come in exploring the contribution of co-text to the risky business of metaphorical interpretation, we should take another look at Table 6.1, reproduced here as Table 8.1. In Chapter 6, I discussed ways of marking metaphor, helping reduce the risk that stage III never happens, and in Chapter 7, I described the major syntactic apparatus for specifying and Indicating Topics, to reduce the risk of a potential mismatch between the writer’s b of stage I and the reader’s c at stage IV. A third means of risk reduction is to provide Grounds, to ensure that the x of stage I matches the y of stage V. The commonly used syntactic resources for guaranteeing this fit are the subject of this chapter.
8.1.1. The applicability of the concept of Grounds
It is worth repeating, before we begin, that the distinction between Topic and Grounds is not applicable to all metaphors. First, consider Inactive metaphors receiving a Substitution interpretation. The unconventional referent of the V-term, the Topic, amounts to the feature automatically selected by a secondary convention from the Vehicle, a feature which is, in fact, also the Ground. In:
(1) Thomas is a monkey.

Table 8.1 Stages in metaphorical processing

Writer

Reader

I

Perceives or creates a resemblance between entities a and b on the basis of feature(s) x

II

Forms text using “A” to refer to b III Realizes that “A” is not referring to a

IV

Thinks “A” is referring to c

V

Postulates a resemblance between a and c on the basis of features y

-229-

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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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