Abstract and concrete representations in structure-mapping and class-inclusion
This article presents an Abstract Algebraic framework within which two major theories of metaphor comprehension, the class-inclusion and structure-mapping, are incorporated. Looking at Gentner’s structure-mapping model from this perspective, this article suggests that any comparison between two systems of relations is made by the mediation of an abstract system of relations rather than by a direct comparison between two concrete systems of relations. Regarding class-inclusion model, it is proposed that the class in which the topic is directly included is the class of abstract representation (deep representation) of vehicle. In this way, two levels of meaning are defined for the vehicle of a metaphor. The first level is the abstract representation or deep representation, which includes one or at most several salient semantic features. This is the metaphorical meaning of vehicle, which might be shared by a set of words with different degrees of typicality. The second level of meaning is the surface representation or literal meaning. This level includes a large number of semantic features. Therefore, metaphorical meaning includes one or at most several very salient semantic aspects, while literal meaning includes a large number of semantic features.
Keywords: structure-mapping, class-inclusion, metaphorical meaning, semantic feature, literal meaning
Published online: 03 March 2016
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