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Interpretation Of Metaphor From The Approaches Of Cognitive Linguistic And Dynamic Conceptual Semantic Theories

Posted on:2005-12-23Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:Q ZhouFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360122490418Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
This thesis attempts a qualitative linguistic exploration into metaphor from three latest theories: Relevance Theory, Theory of Conceptual Blending and Theory of Dynamic Conceptual Semantics.In a logistic point of view, the traditional linguists regarded language as a stable decontextualized system. Metaphor, to their understanding, is merely a kind of rhetoric means. This viewpoint, which never goes beyond the limit of rhetoric, is unable to interpret the metaphorical phenomenon at the discourse level and thus has a negative impact on the follow-up metaphorical studies. In the late twenties, based on the study of language and thought, cognitive linguists represented by Lakoff and Johnson, elaborated that metaphor is a way of thinking and cognition. Lakoff's theory, which can be regarded as a foundation stone, facilitates the explorations on the cognitive process of metaphor conducted by the following linguists. This is the focus problem to be solved in the thesis. In recent years, linguists such as Sperber and Wilson, Fauconnier and Bartsch, have studied metaphor from different approaches, provided theoretical basis for the settlement of the problem and thus widened the academic vision.Chapter one is an introductory chapter, with a review of the backdrop of this study. It also points out the purpose and the framework of the thesis.In Chapter two, the thesis begins with running back over some important metaphor theories. In retrospections, the thesis inquires into the contributions and deficiencies of these theories and takes them as the starting point to make an analysis of the orientations of metaphor theories' development.Chapter three, as the main body and innovative point of the thesis, follows the theory-to-analysis organization and probes into the metaphorical phenomenon from three different angles of linguistics by fetching in three new theories. Firstly, the author proceeds with Relevance Theory (RT) of Sperber and Wilson, which studies the cause and the working mechanism of metaphor from the cognitive pragmatic approach. RT holds that using metaphor in conversation is just an avoidance of direct description and interpretation of speaker's thought by way of optimal relevance seeking; and thus using and understanding of metaphor is governed by principle of relevance. Secondly, by assimilating metaphorical cognition into cognitive psychological model, Fauconnier's Conceptual Blending (CB) is used to clarify the inner working mechanism of metaphor, which is not so explicitly explained by RT. This approach takes metaphor as a particular case of a general and pervasive cognitive process known as "blending" or "conceptual integration". Thirdly, from the approach ofdynamic conceptual semantics, Bartsch's Theory of Dynamic Conceptual Semantics is applied to the analysis of formation and construction mechanism of metaphor. According to the theory, the use of metaphorical language is nothing but the normal way of concept formation, which is based on similar experiences of situations.As a matter of fact, it is found in this thesis that in the course of analyzing, the incompleteness of interpretations of metaphor is due to the defects of each theory. As noted in the thesis, Relevance Theory does not provide an absolute measure of mental effort or cognitive effect, and it does not assume that such a measure is available to the spontaneous workings of the mind. Owing to its weak operationalization, the relevant interpretation of metaphor's working mechanism, accordingly, seems too vague and subjective. However, Fauconnier's Conceptual Blending, as a powerful interpretative theory, solves the problem left by Relevance Theory. Its own characteristics are combined to go with case study on metaphor. Finally, it is discovered that Conceptual Blending is not omnipotent either, that is, it is not comprehensive. It leaves behind such questions as follows: a) How do listeners control the extent of blending and extension? b) How many types are there in mapping? c) Does the metaphorical concept keep s...
Keywords/Search Tags:metaphor, cognition, relevance theory, conceptual blending, concept formation
PDF Full Text Request
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