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Diachronic variation in metaphorical models: developing a research method


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Stanojević, Mateusz-Milan. (2008). Diachronic variation in metaphorical models: developing a research method. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature.
(Sveučilište u Zadru. Odjel za engleski jezik i književnost.) [mentor Maček, Dora].

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Any theory of metaphor inevitably deals with meaning, and the fundamental issue in any theory of meaning is the relationship between language and understanding. In some philosophical, linguistic and literary theory traditions metaphor is taken to be purely linguistic, while other (constructivist) theories consider it to be a part of the human mental structure, inextricably connected with our understanding of the world (and, as a result of that, with language). Cognitive linguistic theory is a systematic application of the latter approach – metaphor is defined as an offline conceptual mechanism of structuring conventional knowledge and an online process of meaning construction. On a more general level, cognitive linguists describe the way in which linguistic phenomena (ranging from phonemes, intonation units, morphemes, nouns, verbs, subjects, predicates to theme and focus) reflect cognitive processes. The cognitive linguistic approach to conceptual metaphor has a number of advantages, the most important being its comprehensiveness – conceptual metaphor is an offline and an online process, conventional and innovative, based on culture and biology, synchronic and diachronic in nature. This diversity is also the root of the most significant research problem in conceptual metaphor theory – the lack of a theoretical model that would take into account the multifaceted nature of conceptual metaphor, simultaneously offering a detailed and comprehensive methodological research apparatus. The aim of this dissertation is to produce an integrated model of conceptual metaphor with a special emphasis on diachronic research and offer a comprehensive systematic research method. More specifically, the dissertation offers answers to three research questions: whether diachronic research of conceptual metaphor is a plausible enterprise, what are the elements of a comprehensive theory of metaphorical models and what kind of methodology can take into account all of the necessary theoretical issues. On the practical level, the answers to these research questions are based on testing the developed research method on the Middle English concept LŎVE. Thus, in addition to offering a theoretical and methodological framework, we present a study of a relatively poorly investigated area of Middle English, which, in turn, allows making informed assumptions about the development of the concept LŎVE from Middle English until today. The integrated conceptual metaphor model and the comprehensive research method bring together cognitive grammar and cognitive semantics combining them with conceptual, grammatical, corpus and discourse methods of metaphor research. According to the integrated model, the aim of analyzing metaphorical cultural models is to: (1) establish the details connected with particular conceptual metaphors and metonymies (their general form, conventionality, mappings, partiality and schematicity), (2) determine which cultural models/scenarios are connected with the target domain and what its participants are, and (3) establish which metaphors/metonymies appear at which stage of the cultural model/scenario, and what their relationship is. The comprehensive method takes these aims into account, incorporating the following textual elements: (a) determining the tenor, (b) determining the vehicle, (c) determining the grammatical relations between the tenor and the vehicle and (d) determining the conventionality of the linguistic items. Moreover, the analysis must be in harmony with the (linguistic and conceptual) details of the examined domain. Thus, the comprehensive metaphor research method proposes the following analysis sequence: 1. Establishing the particularities of the investigated domain (determining target-related language on the basis of secondary sources) 2. Determining the tenor (concordances of target expressions and all their forms, semantic and grammatical analysis of constructions containing target items) 3. Determining the vehicle (in groups of constructions) and determining grammatical relations between the tenor and the vehicle (semantic analysis of constructions on the basis of secondary sources) 4. Determining a general form of the conceptual metaphor (by arranging groups of constructions according to semantic similarities of the vehicles) 5. Determining the conventionality of conceptual metaphor (linguistic analysis) 6. Determining mappings and their partiality (grouping linguistic expressions within postulated conceptual metaphor groups) 7. Determining the schematicity of conceptual metaphors (conceptual analysis) 8. Determining cultural models/scenarios connected with the target domain and their participants (grammatical and discourse analysis) 9. Determining which conceptual metaphors and metonymies are connected to which stages of the cultural model/scenario and how they are related (conceptual and discourse analysis). The application of the integrated model and the comprehensive research method to the Middle English concept LŎVE produced the expected results. We showed that the concept LŎVE in Middle English is a complex metaphorical cultural model with a relational literal base (consisting of participants S1 and S2 and time t which extends beyond the scope of view). There are various types of love in Middle English, and a range of linguistic expressions are used in the domain, and this study focuses on the noun lŏve. Based on a semantic and grammatical analysis of the noun we have determined the literal standard which served as the criterion to establish metaphorical conceptualizations. The following schematic conceptual metaphors were found in the corpus: LŎVE IS AN OBJECT, LŎVE IS A FORCE, personification, LŎVE IS SERVICE and a handful of more detailed metaphors. Moreover, we found numerous non-metaphorical conceptualizations, which function in keeping with the image schemas of FORCE and BALANCE in the LŎVE cultural model. The examination of the relation between linguistic expressions and conceptual metaphors showed that linguistic expressions which are furthest from the core (verbs combined with the noun exhibit the most schematic metaphorical relationship to the concept LŎVE. The closer we come to the core of the expression (e.g. the noun lŏve premodified by an adjective), linguistic and conceptual examples are less numerous but increasingly more characteristic of the target concept. The discourse method confirmed these results and enabled a reconstruction of the scenario of romantic/courtly love and the interaction of the grammatical schema, stages in the scenario and metaphorical conceptualizations. In the first stage of the scenario, LŎVE is conceptualized as a force that has an influence on the person in love or is personified. In the second stage (single participant conceptualizations – only the lover) conceptual metaphors showing the intensity of the emotion (LŎVE IS FIRE, quantity and size of LŎVE as an object) and the lover’s inability to control oneself (LŎVE IS A FORCE and its detailed conceptualizations and personification) are particularly prominent. In second stage conceptualizations with two participants, the lover’s longing for love or the loved one is schematically conceptualized as a bounded entity (detailed conceptualizations include: VALUABLE COMMODITY, FOOD, THIRST), and the lover’s behaviors towards the loved one are structured using the conceptual metaphor LŎVE IS SERVICE. In the following stages of the scenario the loved one notices that the lover loves him/her. This is expressed using the conceptual metaphor LŎVE IS SERVICE: the lover does various favors for the loved one, and the value of the favors is estimated on the basis of the BALANCE image schema. In other types of love (e.g. erotic love) other metaphors may be used in this stage, e.g. the EXCHANGE OF GOODS schematic metaphor with detailed conceptualizations of ABDUCTION, THEFT, BUYING, etc. In the final stages of the scenario – mutual love and the fulfillment of the scenario – conceptual metaphors characteristic of the LŎVE model are no longer there, and their place is taken by conceptualizations related to other cultural models that may follow love (e.g. happiness, marriage, etc.). Theoretically speaking, our results confirm the validity of the integrated conceptual metaphor model and the comprehensive metaphor research method. In other words, we have substantiated the hypotheses concerning the parts of the integrated view of metaphor, the comprehensive method and the accessibility of diachronic material. We showed that a complete description of a metaphorical concept consists of the description of the scenarios connected with the concept, the description of metaphorical and non-metaphorical conceptualizations connected with the concept and the description of the interaction of scenarios, metaphorical and non-metaphorical conceptualizations. We also showed that the integrated model goes hand in hand with the comprehensive metaphor research method. The comprehensive research method combines the results of a semantic and grammatical analysis of the corpus (in order to determine potential metaphorical linguistic expressions and the characteristics of the target concept schema) with a conceptual analysis (in order to obtain explicit conceptual metaphors) and a discourse investigation (to verify the conceptual analysis and to describe the interaction of the scenarios and metaphorical and non-metaphorical conceptualizations). Finally, on the global level, the study showed that conceptual metaphor in a historical context is accessible to a contemporary researcher. Theoretically and methodologically the study introduces the following innovations to the research of conceptual metaphor: (1) it offers an integrated model of conceptual metaphor which takes into consideration linguistic and conceptual data and goes hand-in-hand with a comprehensive method of conceptual metaphor research; (2) it offers a method which gives comparable results and can be used for diachronic data. On the practical level, the dissertation shows in detail how the integrated model and comprehensive method can be applied to Middle English data, and gives a comprehensive description of the so-far unexplored concept of LŎVE in Middle English. Further research could deal with other linguistic expressions within the domain (e.g. the verb lŏven) to check whether they correspond with the present results. Moreover, it could focus on other domains in the same or a different time period, so as to compare the research results and arrive at contrastive diachronic data. Only when this is done, the method and the model proposed in this dissertation will realize their full potential.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: conceptual metaphor, diachrony, Middle English, metaphorical model LOVE, comprehensive research method
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Maček, Dora
Additional Information: Sveučilište u Zadru. Odjel za engleski jezik i književnost.
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2013 09:47
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2014 13:09

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