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Meaning, Mind and Communication

Explorations in Cognitive Semiotics

Edited By Jordan Zlatev, Göran Sonesson and Piotr Konderak

This volume constitutes the first anthology of texts in cognitive semiotics – the new transdisciplinary study of meaning, mind and communication that combines concepts and methods from semiotics, cognitive science and linguistics – from a multitude of established and younger scholars. The chapters deal with the interaction between language and other semiotic resources, the role of consciousness and concepts, the nature of metaphor, the specificity of human evolution and development, the relation between cognitive semiotics and related fields, and other central topics. They are grouped in four sections: (i) Meta-theoretical perspectives, (ii) Semiotic development and evolution, (iii) Meaning across media, modes and modalities, (iv) Language, blends and metaphors.

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Chapter 21. The Emergence of Multimodal Metaphors in Brazilian Political-electoral Debates (Maíra Avelar)


Maíra Avelar

Chapter 21

The Emergence of Multimodal Metaphors in Brazilian Political-electoral Debates

1. Introduction

As there is a lack of studies on multimodality applied to the political domain, this study analyzes the metaphors that gradually emerged in the political-electoral debates between Brazilian presidential candidates that took place in 2010 and 2014, taking into consideration two semiotic resources: speech, belonging to the auditory modality, and gestures, belonging to the visual modality. To analyze the selected scenes from the debates, an adapted version of a cognitive semiotic model (Brandt and Brandt 2005) was chosen, as it encompasses the enunciative scenario, allowing for a dynamic analysis of the metaphors used by the candidates and, most importantly, allowing for a detailed and integrated analysis of the gestural content together with the linguistic content.

Based on Turner’s (2007) assumptions, the main hypothesis that guides this research is that the more entrenched the metaphorical expression in our conceptual system is, the harder it is to recognize such an expression as metaphorical. When approaching the difference between literal and metaphorical meaning, Turner states that these are not “cognitive operations [that are] fundamentally different” (Turner 2007: 1). Rather, the judgment of an expression as literal or metaphorical is intimately related to the degree of productive entrenchment – or, in Müller’s (2009) terminology, to the degree of conventionality – of a conceptual connection. Thus, the higher the degree of productive entrenchment/conventionality – the lower the chance that an expression...

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