Cognitive Explorations into Metaphor and Metonymy

by Frank Polzenhagen (Volume editor) Zoltan Kövecses (Volume editor) Stefanie Vogelbacher (Volume editor) Sonja Kleinke (Volume editor)
©2015 Edited Collection 322 Pages


This volume presents selected contributions to an annual symposium on metaphor and metonymy held at the English Department of Heidelberg University. It brings together papers by lecturers, PhD students and graduates from three universities – Heidelberg University, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and the University of East Anglia in Norwich. The contributions illustrate the plurality of perspectives and methods in current cognitive-linguistic research on metaphor and metonymy and exemplify some of the ways in which they can be combined. The papers also attest to the wide range of domains and topics to which metaphor- and metonymy-based research can be applied, including emotion terms, political and scientific discourse, morphology, cross-cultural variation and internet communication.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Editors
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Editors’ preface
  • References
  • Metaphor and metonymy in the conceptual system: Zoltán Kövecses
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. The organization of the conceptual system
  • 2.1. Vertical organization: Thematic structure
  • 2.2. Horizontal organization of the system
  • 3. Links in the system
  • 3.1. Is-connection: Identity
  • 3.2. Through-connection: Metonymy
  • 3.3. As if-connection: Metaphor
  • 3.4. Schematicity of metaphor and metonymy
  • 3.5. Nonspecificity of metaphor and metonymy
  • 4. Interaction of vertical hierarchies and functional domains
  • 4.1. Metaphor or metonymy?
  • 4.2. The primacy of metonymy over metaphor
  • 4.3. Metonymy or vertical polysemy?
  • 5. Conclusions
  • References
  • Corpus-based analysis of conceptual metaphors of Happiness in Russian and English: Olga Pavpertova
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Comparative analysis of Happiness is Light, Happiness is Warmth, Happiness is Fire in Russian and English
  • 2.1. Happiness is Light
  • 2.2. Happiness is Warmth
  • 2.3. Happiness is Fire
  • 3. Conclusions
  • References
  • Feeling the taste of victory: The figurative utilization of the concepts Mouth and Tongue in English, German and Hungarian: Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Empirical basis
  • 3. The domain matrix of mouth and tongue
  • 3.1. From Eating to Linguistic Action
  • 3.2. From Eating to Emotions
  • 3.3. Interactions of Emotions with Linguistic Action
  • 4. Conclusions
  • References
  • Sources
  • Bewegungsmetaphorik im Lakota: Metaphorische Bewegungsverben und ihre Entsprechungen in europäischen Sprachen: Rebecca Netzel
  • 1. Einleitung
  • 2. Substantivische Metaphern
  • 3. Adjektivische/adverbiale Metaphern
  • 4. Verbale Metaphern
  • 5. Fazit
  • Annex
  • Literaturverzeichnis
  • The metaphor of the “body politic” across languages and cultures: Andreas Musolff
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Nations and their ‘bodies’
  • 3. Methodological implications
  • 4. Conclusions
  • Appendix
  • Reference
  • The concept of the State in Hungarian political discourse: Variations reflected in the language of the constitutions: Orsolya Farkas
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Theoretical background and methodology
  • 3. A note on the history of the three constitutions
  • 4. Research findings
  • 4.1. Metaphorical versus non-metaphorical occurrences
  • 4.2. Words used with reference to the target domain
  • 4.3. Metaphor identification and interpretation
  • 5. Conclusions
  • References
  • Metaphors on the territorial changes of post-Trianon Hungary: Orsolya Putz
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Conceptual metaphors in academic papers
  • 2.1. The Event metaphor
  • 2.2. The Subdivision metaphor
  • 2.3. The Detaching metaphor
  • 2.4. The Cutting metaphor
  • 2.5. The Tearing Apart metaphor
  • 2.6. The Amputation metaphor
  • 3. Conceptual metaphors in popular papers
  • 3.1. The Drawing metaphor
  • 3.2. The Filling metaphor
  • 3.3. The Subdivision metaphor
  • 3.4. The Detaching metaphor
  • 3.5. The Cutting metaphor
  • 3.6. The Tearing Apart metaphor
  • 3.7. The Amputation metaphor
  • 3.8. Mixed metaphors
  • 4. Comparing academic and popular discourse metaphors
  • 4.1. Within-culture variation
  • 4.2. Common generic frame
  • 5. Conclusion
  • References
  • Sources
  • Cognitive metaphor and the “Arab Spring”: Nicole Möller
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Conceptual metaphors
  • 3. Method and corpus
  • 4. Case Study
  • 4.1. Forces of Nature
  • 4.1.1. Water
  • 4.1.2. Fire
  • 4.1.3. Earthquake
  • 4.1.4. Volcanic Eruption
  • 4.1.5. Wind
  • 4.2. Country-specific metaphors
  • 4.2.1. Tunisia
  • 4.2.2. Egypt
  • 5. Conclusion
  • References
  • Newspaper articles
  • Bild
  • The Daily Telegraph
  • The Sun
  • Wenn das ‚Embodiment‘ politisch wird:Das Image-Schema Path und seine Realisierung im Mediendiskurs zum „Arabischen Frühling” (2010–11): Alexandra Núñez
  • 1. Einleitung
  • 2. Kurze Einführung grundlegender Konzepte
  • 3. Analyseprämissen
  • 4. Das Path-Schema: ‚Entrenchment’ und metaphorische Erweiterung/ Produktivität
  • 5. Das Path-Schema und seine metaphorische Realisierung im Mediendiskurs zum „Arabischen Frühling” (2010–11)
  • 5.1. ‚Der Weg ist das Ziel‘? Konzeptuelle Dynamiken zwischen Teleologie, Vermittlungsstrategien und Erwartungen
  • 5.2. Politische (System-)Veränderung als Bewegung
  • 5.3. Demokratie als Ort und Ziel
  • 6. Resümee
  • Literaturverzeichnis
  • Emotional Value metaphors: A new class of Interest metaphors in advertising: Katrin Strobel
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. The interaction of Interest metaphors and Grabbing metonymies in advertising
  • 3. The corpus
  • 4. New types of Interest metaphors
  • 4.1. Early advertising: Using the Product is Getting Married
  • 4.2. Contemporary advertising
  • 4.2.1. The Freedom metaphor
  • 4.2.2. The Protection metaphor
  • 4.2.3. The Charity metaphor
  • 5. Summary and conclusion
  • References
  • Figures
  • Metaphor, metonymy, and brands: From Interest metaphors to Interest metonymies: Carmen Simon
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Metaphors in advertising
  • 3. Interest metaphors
  • 4. Case study: Interest metaphors on brand websites
  • The Brand Stands For Health
  • The Brand Stands For High Quality
  • The Brand Stands For Tradition
  • The Brand Stands For Luxury
  • 5. Discussion
  • References
  • The conception of diseases in the persuasive sections of Hungarian medical recipes from the 16th and 17th centuries: Ágnes Kuna
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Research background and underlying assumptions
  • 3. Corpus and research method
  • 4. The schema of medical recipes in the 16th and 17th centuries
  • 5. Concepts of diseases in the persuasion part of recipes
  • 5.1. The non-metaphorical elaboration of Promise/Result
  • 5.2. The metaphorical realization of Promise/Result
  • 5.2.1. Healing is the Passing of the Disease
  • 5.2.2. Healing is the Death/Killing of the Disease
  • 5.2.3. Recovery Means the Stopping of the Disease – A Disease is Motion
  • 5.2.4. Recovery is Positive Change – Disease is a Negative State/Quality
  • 6. Conclusion
  • Note
  • Sources
  • References
  • Kognitive Metaphern in der Jungschen Psychotherapie: Réka Szabó
  • 1. Einleitung
  • 2. Fallstudie
  • 3. Schlussbetrachtungen
  • Literaturverzeichnis
  • What did 18th-century grammarians know about grammaticalisation? Notes on the early history of a current idea: Frank Polzenhagen
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Grammaticalisation and Cognitive Linguistics
  • 3. The history of the idea of grammaticalisation
  • 4. Why the history of ideas matters
  • References
  • Kohärenz und Metonymie: Zitierpraktiken in öffentlichen Internetdiskussionsforen: Sonja Kleinke
  • 1. Einleitung
  • 2. Metonymie und Kohärenz: Von der metonymisch basierten Inferenz zur metonymischen Assoziation
  • 3. Zitierpraktiken und Muster metonymischer Assoziationen in HYS
  • Nachbemerkung
  • Literaturverzeichnis
  • “WTF is ‘helicopter parenting’ ”? Metaphor commenting and negotiation in an online debate at BBC Being a parent: Stefanie Vogelbacher
  • 1. Metaphor in verbal interaction online
  • 2. Metaphor in discourse - two perspectives
  • 2.1. Origin, usage and cross-cultural comparison
  • 2.2. Semantics and conceptual motivation of Helicopter Parent
  • 3. A brief sketch of interactional conditions at BBC Being a parent
  • 4. Analysis and discussion
  • 4.1. The Helicopter Parent(ING) exchange and discourse activity
  • 4.2. Micro-level functions and positioning in the Helicopter Parenting exchange
  • 5. Conclusion and outlook
  • References
  • Culture-specific metonymic relations in the conceptual system: On cognitive linguistic attitude research: Lisa Vollmar
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. An introduction to cognitive linguistic attitude research
  • 2.1. The socio-psychological approach to attitude research
  • 2.2. Combining linguistic studies with cognitive attitude research
  • 2.3. Social categorisation in cognitive linguistic attitude research
  • 3. Attitudes towards English in Ghana: A case study
  • 4. Concluding remarks
  • References
  • Croatian place suffixations in –ište: Polysemy and metonymy: Mario Brdar and Rita Brdar-Szabó
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Polysemy and word formation
  • 3. The polysemy of suffixations in –ište: Extensions to non-locative meanings
  • 4. Locative meanings of –ište
  • 5. The direction of locative extensions in suffixations ending in –ište: a cognitively plausible account
  • 6. Discussion and outlook
  • Note
  • References

Editors’ preface

The investigation of metaphor and metonymy has been a hallmark of Cognitive Linguistics ever since the early days of this approach to language. The study of these phenomena certainly is among the most productive fields of cognitive-linguistic research both in theoretical respects and as regards the impressive body of studies that it has engendered. Arguably, it is the most influential one in terms of its wide recognition outside the cognitive-linguistic community, with its considerable impact on mainstream linguistics and across the various sciences and domains.

Over the last three decades, several more or less distinct strands have emerged in the cognitive-linguistic study of metaphor and metonymy. One strand focuses on the role of these two phenomena in the human conceptual system, continuing along the lines of and elaborating on the original Lakoff & Johnson (1980) framework. The familiar key notion of this strand is ‘conceptual metaphor/metonymy’. Other cognitive linguists locate and investigate metaphor and metonymy primarily at the level of discourse. The study of “discourse metaphors”, a term advanced in Zinken, Hellsten & Nerlich (2008) and Musolff & Zinken (2009), highlights, inter alia, the discursive development and discourse history of specific metaphors. The third strand takes a narrower, micro-level understanding of “discourse” as its starting point and analyses metaphors and metonymies, first and foremost, as local phenomena in a specific genre, text production or talk exchange (e.g., Cameron & Maslen 2010; Semino 2008). Another recent focus is the study of multimodal metaphors (e.g., Forceville & Urios-Aparisi 2009), which addresses the expression of metaphor across various modes of representation. This pluralism of perspectives is paralleled, at the methodological level, by a pluralism of research techniques, ranging from introspection-based to corpus-based approaches and microlevel analyses inspired by methods used in discourse analysis, to name just a few.

There is an obvious tension among these perspectives and methodologies. The metaphors one finds at the textual level, for instance, are often vague, ad hoc, temporary and unstable. With these features, they hardly qualify as “conceptual metaphors” in any strict sense, i.e. as entrenched conceptualisations. Scholars working along the lines of the original Lakoff & Johnson (1980) framework argue that even those metaphors are licensed ← 7 | 8 → by more general or generic metaphors firmly rooted in the conceptual system. Discourse-oriented scholars are often skeptical of this view since such higher-level metaphors cannot always be conclusively traced at the textual level and thus lack direct evidence. Furthermore, they accord much more significance to the individual metaphors, the details of the mappings underlying them and their specific linguistic form than an approach that views metaphoric expressions primarily as manifestations of broader, entrenched conceptual links (for a discussion, see Zinken & Musolff 2009).

Another important controversy arises from the question of what motivates metaphors. Over the last years, there has been an intense argument on the notion of ‘embodiment’ (see, e.g., the twin volumes Frank, Dirven, Ziemke & Bernárdez 2008 and Ziemke, Zlatev & Frank 2008). It is a matter of debate whether and to which degree metaphors are embodied (i.e. rooted in fundamental bodily experience), encultured (i.e. based on sociocultural experience) or products of local discourse and context.

The relationship among the strands and perspectives sketched above is thus certainly not harmonious. At the level of practical analysis, they may often come to quite different conclusions. It would, however, be unjustified to regard these tensions as a weakness of the cognitive-linguistic theory of ← 8 | 9 → metaphor and metonymy. Instead, these tensions have inspired important theoretical and methodological elaborations of the original framework. Many if not most cognitive linguists in this field work along the lines of more than one of these strands, i.e. they employ a combination of perspectives and techniques and use the existing tensions to the benefit of their analysis. Among the comprehensive theoretical proposals that pick up the challenge posed by these tensions is Kövecses’ recent work on the context of metaphors and on what he refers to as the “pressure of coherence” (e.g., Kövecses 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012). By spelling out various dimensions of context, his model provides potential anchor points for many if not all of the foci sketched above.

Tensions and different perspectives notwithstanding, there is much common ground shared by the aforementioned approaches: First and foremost, they all explicitly view and analyse metaphor and metonymy as cognitive phenomena. The title chosen for the present volume reflects this common denominator, and indeed, “cognitive metaphor” can serve as a convenient cover term.

The contributions to the present volume readily illustrate the plurality of perspectives and techniques in the current cognitive-linguistic study of ← 8 | 9 → metaphor and metonymy and exemplify some of the ways in which they can be combined. The papers collected here also attest to the wide range of domains and topics to which metaphor- and metonymy-based research can be applied.

Zoltán Kövecses sets the scene with a paper on the role of metaphor and metonymy in the conceptual system. In order to clarify this role, he tackles the questions of how we can decide whether a particular linguistic expression is metaphoric or metonymic, of whether metaphor or metonymy can be considered primary in relation to the other, and of how metonymy relates to vertical polysemy.

The two subsequent contributions readdress well-studied textbook examples of the conceptual-metaphor paradigm: Olga Pavpertova provides a comparative corpus-linguistic analysis of emotion terms from the domain of HAPPINESS in English and Russian and characterises the relevant lexemes in terms of their metaphor-induced collocational profiles, which reflect partly diverging prototypes of HAPPINESS in these two languages. Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra, comparing data from English, Hungarian and German, investigates metonymic links between speech organs and language and works out the complex domain matrix of tongue and mouth.

A further paper with a pronounced comparative focus comes from Rebecca Netzel. She discusses metaphoric expressions in Lakota involving, in particular, verbs of motion, and their equivalents in several European languages. Rebecca Netzel stresses the universality of metaphor as a cognitive phenomenon, detailing, however, the specific impact of culture and typological features of a given language on the way this cognitive potential finds expression at the linguistic surface. Her contribution also presents a lexicographic account of the relevant lexical items in Lakota.

Andreas Musolff’s contribution to the volume complements his earlier, comprehensive studies on the discourse history of the body-politic metaphor with an analysis of cross-cultural differences in the conceptual structure of the NATION-AS-BODY metaphor in contemporary China and England. These differences are reflected, inter alia, in his data from a research corpus representing MA students at his university. Andreas Musolff’s paper includes an extensive annex with English lexical items from scenarios of the metaphor A STATE IS A (HUMAN) BODY.

The papers by Orsolya Farkas and Orsolya Putz analyse metaphor use in Hungarian political discourse and both focus on specific text types. Orsolya Farkas traces out the metaphoric construction of the concept of the ← 9 | 10 → NATION in the three successive post-war constitutions of Hungary. Orsolya Putz investigates and compares metaphorical patterns underlying the representation of the territorial changes brought about for Hungary by the 1920 Trianon Treaty in academic and journalistic texts that stem from the last two decades.

The so-called “Arab spring”, i.e. the political uprisings and transformations in the Arab world that started in December 2010, is the immediate subject of the two contributions that follow. Nicole Möller analyses dominant metaphors used in the German and English news coverage of these events. Discussing examples from German print media, the paper by Alexandra Núñez, in turn, focuses on the structuring role of the PATH-schema in the metaphoric representation of the Arab spring.

The papers by Katrin Strobel and Carmen Simon investigate the workings and structure of INTEREST metaphors in advertisement. Katrin Strobel compares adverts from the 1940s to current adverts and traces the emergence of new types of INTEREST metaphors in recent years. Carmen Simon highlights the interplay between INTEREST metaphors and metonymies and their role in the construction of brand identity. Both authors address multi-modal metaphors.

The three subsequent contributions are concerned with the realm of scientific discourse. Ágnes Kuna investigates the metaphoric and metonymic construction of diseases and healing in Hungarian medical recipes from the 16th and 17th centuries. She takes a pragmatic perspective by focusing on the way the act of persuasion is framed in this specific text type. Réka Szabó, in turn, explores the potential of conceptual-metaphor and blending theory in the context of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. To this end, she presents a re-analysis of a case study of a therapeutic process reported in the literature. She shows that an account in terms of conceptual blending makes transparent the constellation at the onset of a therapeutic process, the re-conceptualisation performed in the course of the therapy and the imageries that are involved and interpreted in this process. While the cognitive reality of metaphor and metonymy has long been crucial to psychoanalytic theory and practice, the blending framework can serve as an explicit tool in this discipline. The paper by Frank Polzenhagen brings us to the discourse field of the language sciences and deals with another case where the cognitive function of metaphor has been recognised by scholars for centuries, i.e. processes of grammaticalisation. He shows that remarkably elaborate accounts of grammaticalisation can ← 10 | 11 → already be found in 18th-century works on language and relates this awareness of metaphoric conceptual patterns to general currents in the zeitgeist of this period.

The papers by Sonja Kleinke and Stefanie Vogelbacher take an explicit micro-level approach to metaphor and metonymy. Sonja Kleinke focuses on metonymy-based associative links between quotes and comments in quotations by the participants in an English-speaking public Internet forum-discussion. Her paper discusses how users exploit fully conventionalized as well as fresh and creative metonymic paths arising out of the immediate discourse and the more general contextual environment to expand on the topic of the ongoing discussion. In these complex processes, users resort to the productive, meaning-creating potential of cognitive metonymies. Stefanie Vogelbacher traces the discursive negotiation of the meaning and applicability of the newly emerging metaphoric expression helicopter parents in an online discussion forum. She details the successive discursive activities in an interactional sequence taken from this online debate and highlights the contextual factors that come into play in the course of this interaction.

Lisa Vollmar tackles language attitudes from a cognitive-sociolinguistic angle, taking the profile of English in Ghana as her example. As she shows with the data from her questionnaire survey, the English language is a prototypical element of the conceptual representation of specific communicative situations and of specific cultural-cognitive models in this country. Language attitudes crucially rest on the metonymic evocation of such scenarios and cognitive models.

The volume closes with a paper by Mario Brdar and Rita Brdar-Szabó, who analyse the semantically highly complex set of suffixations formed with –ište in Croatian. They model the extensions within the locative senses of this suffix and to its non-locative ones in terms of conceptually motivated metonymic shifts. The suffix –ište is hence a polysemous category, whose layout is carefully described by the authors. Mario Brdar and Rita Brdar-Szabó argue, however, that the suffix does not develop this polysemy in itself, i.e. in isolation; instead, the meaning extensions of an affix occur via the combinations it enters with its various hosts. Under this view, the polysemy of affixes is a second-order, post-factum type of phenomenon.

Finally, a note on the genesis and the rationale of the present volume is in order. It makes public some of the output of an annual symposium on metaphor and metonymy held at the English Department of the University ← 11 | 12 → of Heidelberg. This symposium was initiated by Prof. Sonja Kleinke in 2009 with the aim to bring together students and lecturers interested in and working on metaphor and metonymy from a cognitive perspective and to establish a forum on which students, staff members, and colleagues from other institutes at the University of Heidelberg could share and discuss their work in progress with each other and with renowned international guests, in particular Prof. Zoltán Kövecses (University of Budapest) and Prof. Andreas Musolff (University of East Anglia). Over the last five years, this symposium has also developed into a pillar of and a thriving platform for the cooperation between the English Department in Heidelberg and the home departments of Prof. Kövecses and Prof. Musolff, i.e. the Cultural Linguistics doctoral programme at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest and the School of Language and Communication Studies at the University of East Anglia, respectively. The composition of the present book reflects the rationale of the symposium that engendered the papers. The volume unites papers by lecturers, doctoral students and graduates from these three universities. Following Kleinke, Kövecses, Musolff & Szelid (2012), it is the second book publication that documents the products of this cooperation.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (October)
Metapher Metonymie Lakota Morphologie
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 322 pp., 24 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Frank Polzenhagen (Volume editor) Zoltan Kövecses (Volume editor) Stefanie Vogelbacher (Volume editor) Sonja Kleinke (Volume editor)

Frank Polzenhagen and Stefanie Vogelbacher teach linguistics at the English Department of Heidelberg University (Germany). Sonja Kleinke is professor of linguistics at this department. Zoltán Kövecses is professor of linguistics at the Department of American Studies of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.


Title: Cognitive Explorations into Metaphor and Metonymy