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Metaphor in Languages for Special Purposes

The Function of Conceptual Metaphor in Written Expert Language and Expert-Lay Communication in the Domains of Economics, Medicine and Computing


Susanne Richardt

This work is a cognitive-linguistic investigation of metaphor in languages for special purposes (LSP). Metaphorization is (re-)defined as a transfer of mental schemata which are mapped from a familiar source domain to analogically structure a hard-to-grasp target domain. Metaphors are empirically evaluated in an investigation of academic writing as well as of popular-scientific texts in the domains of economics, medicine and computing. The empirical analysis provides evidence that even scientific reasoning recurs to metaphorical thinking as an information-processing strategy. Since metaphors appear to define the scientific paradigms which determine (but also constrain) the scope of scientific reasoning, the findings give rise to a discussion about the objectivity of science.
Contents: Theories of Metaphor – Metaphors and Models – Metaphors and Knowledge Representations – Languages for Special Purposes (LSP) – Expert Model versus Commonsense Model – Method of Investigating Metaphor in LSP – Metaphors in LSP.