Two models of metaphoricity and three dilemmas of metaphor research

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Starting out from classical metaphor theory, I consider two models, the Overlap model and the Tension model — the difference between which may not have been spelled out in that tradition. Although the latter has an Aristotelian pedigree, it may be less generally valid than the Overlap model, at least if the requirement for tension is placed very high. The metaphors distinguished by Lakoff and Johnson, like the catachresis of classical rhetoric, fulfils the Overlap model, but in a petrified form, as is shown by the fact that both may, in the same way, be awakened from their slumber by some modification or addition to the sentence. What Lakoff and Johnson, later on, call primary metaphors, however, does not really correspond to any of these models. They are quite literally extensions of human embodiments. Thus, they are actually diagrams, in the sense in which Peirce opposes them to metaphors. We go on to discuss similarities and differences between verbal and pictorial metaphors, arguing that some metaphorical configurations are more apt to work in pictures and others in language, although there are also some configurations which are common to both.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Communication Studies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalCognitive Semiotics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch