MoL-2023-19: Intentions behind metaphor use

MoL-2023-19: Michelli, Gianluca (2023) Intentions behind metaphor use. [Report]

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Since the rise of Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) in the 1980s, metaphor theorists have investigated the numerous and diverse effects that metaphor has on cognitive processes. It has been observed that in some recurring contexts, metaphoric language tends to be preferred to literal language and that certain metaphors tend to be preferred to others. This has led some scholars (among others, Steen [2008]) to emphasize the communicative dimension of metaphor, a dimension in which metaphors are sometimes used deliberately to produce specific effects. In this thesis, I analyze the different intentions behind metaphor use that have been studied in the literature and organize them into a unified taxonomy. I argue that in the context of discourse analysis - as well as in NLP applications - the notion of intention is best understood as a property attributed to linguistic acts, rather than the utterer’s guessed mental state. Such a view allows me to account for the observed asymmetries in production vs reception of metaphor and secures this approach from the most common critiques addressed to Deliberate Metaphor Theory (see e.g. Gibbs [2011]). Eleven categories of metaphor, distinguished by their primary intention, have emerged from my research: Lexicalized metaphor, Persuasiveness, Argumentative metaphor, Vividness, Precision, Artistic metaphor, Imageability, Explanation, Heuristic reasoning, Humour, Social interaction. A first experience with corpus annotation - based on the VU Amsterdam Metaphor Corpus (Steen [2010]) - has been carried out with the aim of preliminarily validating the taxonomy and suggesting directions for future improvements.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: MoL-2023-19
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2023
Uncontrolled Keywords: metaphor, intention, CMT, corpus linguistics
Subjects: Language
Depositing User: Dr Marco Vervoort
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2023 13:20
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2023 13:20

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