How Researchers in Specialised Varieties of English Can Benefit from Focusing on Terms
5. Insights from metaphorical terms 133
133 5. Insights from metaphorical terms Economic conditions are constantly changing and each generation looks at its own problems in its own way. Alfred Marshall Principles of Economics (1920: 1) In spite of the Wüsterian call to avoid terms with any connotation, which may once have led some people to consider the unit “metaphor- ical term” as an oxymoron, later approaches to terminology (Meyer et al. 1997; Temmerman 2000; Humbley 2005) have taken metaphors into account, though from a somewhat different perspective than that which is offered here. In Specialised Varieties of English such as in the field of economics, it is important to pay special attention to meta- phorical terms, and not to be content with just any metaphor that we may come across in the semi-specialised economic press, for example. Metaphorical terms make a difference because they denote concepts that are essential for economic theory and therefore reflect the theoret- ical frame that prompted their adoption. Metaphorical terms may not strike today’s economist as metaphorical, simply because overuse may have stripped them of their figurative sense, so that they are consid- ered as lexicalised. The linguist, however, as an “outsider” to the spe- cialised domain will be alerted by the apparent incongruity of these terms: their metaphorical ring cannot and should not escape the care- ful observer’s eyes. Undeniably, these very terms represent a precious source of information when their origins and the context that led to their emergence in the field of economics are investigated. The...
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