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Data Structure in Cognitive Metaphor Research


Péter Csatár

This collection of papers focuses on cognitive metaphor research (CMR) from the perspective of the current debate on linguistic data and evidence. The peculiarity of the book is that it reveals the causes that trigger the methodological problems of data handling in CMR. These problems include the identifiability of metaphors in discourse and the reliability of the methods of gathering metaphors such as linguistic intuition, discourse analysis, corpus analysis, and psycholinguistic experiments. In order to overcome their weaknesses and to enhance their reliance, the papers argue, on the one hand, for the combination of different methods of gathering and evaluating data in CMR. On the other hand, the papers also point out that converging evidence cannot be obtained without constraining the combinability of data stemming from different sources.
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1 The problem of identifying metaphor in conceptual metaphor theory


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1.1 The problem of data in conceptual metaphor theory

The problem of data in linguistics can be localized at both the descriptive and the methodological levels of linguistics. For linguistic methodology – which makes the both practice and the results of linguistic research objects in their own right – the problem can be expressed in the form of the theory-ladenness problem and the question of the evaluative potential of data which results from it. In its simplified form, the problem boils down to the question of the extent to which data function as more than mere illustrations for theoretical considerations in an approach, if these data are in some way already predetermined by the theoretical insights of the approach itself. Consequently, research in the field of scientific methodology should be confronted with the following questions: which components of a theory play a significant role in the compilation of the data set to be investigated, and to what extent can the pre-theoretic status of data be secured? The first question is concerned with the exploration and realization of the theory-ladenness of data in an approach, in order to prevent futile discussions on the status and relevance of certain phenomena. The second question regarding the pre-theoretic source of data is concerned with the problem of a relatively theory-independent securing of the data source – a problem no less important than the first.

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