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A Metaphorical Perspective To Discourse Coherence In Chinese Song Lyrics

Posted on:2009-06-03Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:Y XueFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360245958397Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
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According to Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphor is not a mere linguistic device used only for the figurative embellishment of language, but a fundamental way of learning and structuring conceptual systems. Metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.In the past few decades since 1970s, metaphor became the focus of multi-discipline studies: linguistics, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, education, science, as well as literary criticism and rhetoric. The focus shift is a great progress in the study of metaphor. But there are still few studies that combine its cognitive aspect with its textual function. In other words, there is a significant lack of attention paid to the contribution metaphor can make to textual cohesion and coherence, not to say placing it in a real discourse context. Research on how metaphors realize the coherence in Chinese song lyrics is found little, and most of them are based on traditional qualitative analysis and are lacking in the support of real data.Coherence, as a significant and mostly used term in the field of discourse analysis, can be achieved in many ways, among which metaphor is a hardly attended one. Discourses embracing metaphors are hard for people to interpret as coherent due to their queer expressions and lacking obvious cohesive devices. Both coherence, the foundation of discourse, and metaphor, the pervasive phenomenon, all call for an interdisciplinary, multidimensional, and multi-level research. This dissertation attempts to probe into how metaphor works in the construction of discourse coherence, with the application of Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Conceptual Blending Theory into metaphorical Chinese song lyrics which proves to be complementary to each other in interpreting and explaining metaphors.This dissertation consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 is a brief introduction to some basic issues concerning metaphor and metaphor study, the rationale for studying metaphor in Chinese song lyrics at discourse level, the purpose of the present study as well as a general outline of this dissertation.Chapter 2 is literature review. Section 1 presents an overview of the previous researches on metaphor in the traditional approaches, and focus on the contemporary cognitive approach to metaphor: the definition of metaphor,its component,its structure,its nature,its classification and two theories interpreting metaphor: Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) and Conceptual Blending Theory(CBT), which are the theoretical foundation of the dissertation. Section 2 presents briefly several perspectives on discourse cohesion and discourse coherence, on which basis, the stance taken and the classification adopted in the dissertation are specified. Section 3 lists the previous study of song lyrics, which provides a basis for the discussion in the subsequent chapters.Chapter 3 outlines the research methodology and gives an account of how to identify and classify the metaphorical discourse of Chinese song lyrics: (1) metaphorical Chinese song lyrics with sporadic metaphors (2) metaphorical Chinese song lyrics with extended metaphors (3) metaphorical Chinese song lyrics with sustained metaphors (4) metaphorical Chinese song lyrics with mixed metaphors, which makes preparation for the following data-based analysis.Chapter 4 reports the findings of research: the working mechanism in the first three categories of metaphorical discourse of Chinese song lyrics both at the language level and at the conceptual level by applying the above theories into the data-based analysis. (1)In metaphorical Chinese song lyrics with sporadic metaphors, the discourse coherence is achieved not only by the surface lexical reiteration of metaphorical expressions but also by the shared conceptual metaphor at the local level. (2)In metaphorical Chinese song lyrics with extended metaphors, the discourse coherence is realized by the collocational co-occurrence of metaphorical words at the surface level and intra-systematicity of the central conceptual metaphor: structural mapping of conceptual metaphor and two sets of correspondence---ontological correspondence and epistemic correspondence. (3) In metaphorical Chinese song lyrics with sustained metaphors, the parallel construction of metaphors highlights different aspects of conceptual metaphor. The coherence is achieved by the common topic at the linguistic level and overlapped metaphorical entailments of conceptual metaphors at the conceptual level.Chapter 5 reports findings on how metaphor works to realize the discourse coherence in the fourth category of metaphorical discourse of Chinese song lyrics: the blended concept of different input domains is the basis of the discourse coherence. Chapter 6 summarizes the conclusions, contributions, and limitations of the study.
Keywords/Search Tags:metaphor, Conceptual Metaphor Theory, Conceptual Blending, Theory discourse coherence
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