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Cognitive Explorations into Metaphor and Metonymy

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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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...

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