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Cognitive Explorations into Metaphor and Metonymy

Edited By Frank Polzenhagen, Zoltan Kövecses, Stefanie Vogelbacher and Sonja Kleinke

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.
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Culture-specific metonymic relations in the conceptual system: On cognitive linguistic attitude research: Lisa Vollmar

1. Introduction

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Culture-specific metonymic relations in the conceptual system: On cognitive linguistic attitude research

    Lisa Vollmar (Heidelberg)

Traditionally, the study of language attitudes and language habits has been connected to sociological studies, in which language is regarded as a social phenomenon and language attitudes as extralinguistic factors that influence linguistic choices. Although sociolinguistic studies on World Englishes have been extended by cognitive linguistic researchers over recent years, to the best of my knowledge attitudes towards the English language in non-native contexts have not yet been studied against the background of cognitive linguistics (CL). This circumstance is remarkable. As I show in this paper, exploring second-language (L2) attitudes involves many central concepts of CL approaches, such as cultural conceptualisations and cultural models, prototypicality, linguistic and social categories, linguistic and social stereotypes, and, as highlighted in the following, metonymic relations in the conceptual system. I am specifically concerned with two key assumptions: (i) Culture-specific conceptualisations are traceable in language attitudes; (ii) Language attitudes are metonymically grounded in the conceptual system.

In order to support these premises empirically, I conducted research on attitudes towards the English language in Ghana.1 My study follows the CL key claim that language, in the present case an L2-variety of English, carries and transmits the socio-cultural background of its speakers. A second, closely related stance is that language attitudes are part of the mental representation of a respective language.

In the first part of my paper, the theoretical approaches underlying my study...

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