Patterns of Imagery in Language
Embodiment and metaphorical meaning creation
Gábor Simon Eötvös Loránd University
This paper elaborates on a new theoretical orientation which argues that language plays an important role in the formulation and the organization of metaphorical concepts. On the one hand, it urges the reinterpretation of the role of embodiment in the construal of (metaphorical) meaning, emphasizing that embodiment is the result of a complex, circular relationship between the mind, the body and their physical and sociocultural environments. In this approach the linguistic metaphor is not simply the verbal manifestation of a conceptual pattern existing in the mind of the individual, because the linguistic metaphor initiates an intersubjective metaphorical conceptualization in the discourse, thereby it enables the negotiation and renegotiation of metaphors. On the other hand, this approach puts forward a proposal for modelling this “scaffolding” function of linguistic metaphor with a self-organizing feature map, a Kohonen network. In this model the metaphorical semantic structure is represented as an emergent local network in the distributed organization of conceptual knowledge, and it initiates the connection of two conceptual representations. The main advantages of this model are that it can demonstrate the role and the importance of linguistic metaphor in the development and the functioning of metaphorical conceptual patterns in the dynamic process of meaning creation.
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