Edited by Angeliki Athanasiadou
[Human Cognitive Processing 56] 2017
► pp. 253–271
Chapter 10. Metaphor and metonymy as fanciful “asymmetry” builders
Langacker (1987: 469) remarks that “the asymmetry of an ‘event’ detected against an established background is fundamental to cognitive organization and not at all peculiar to language. It recalls not only figure/ground alignment […] but also the more general point that novel experience is structured and interpreted with reference to previous experience”. In this paper I argue that metaphor and metonymy are in a sense, if not par excellence, fanciful “asymmetry”-builders: their pertinent characteristic, i.e.associationin terms of similarity and contiguity, always warrants that “novel experiences” (targets) are safely structured and interpreted with reference to “previous experiences” (sources); in other words, it always ensures that the imaginative, playful departure from an "established background" will not lead us astray.