Chapter published in:Dynamism in Metaphor and Beyond
Edited by Herbert L. Colston, Teenie Matlock and Gerard J. Steen
[Metaphor in Language, Cognition, and Communication 9] 2022
► pp. 157–190
Between embodiment and usage
Conventionalized figurative expressions and the notion of ‘idiom set’
This chapter investigates the roles of embodied experience and experienced language use as motivating factors in the emergence of an open set of closely related and partially conventionalized figurative expressions: up to one’s eyes in debt, up to one’s ears in a mess, etc. The case study reported analyzes 276 instantiations of the low-level construction [up to X N: body-part, poss. in Y N: mass], also referred to here as the “immersion schema”. The multimodal data are randomly taken from U.S. television as documented in the UCLA Newscape Archive, a component of the RedHen Lab, and accessed via the Erlangen corpus NewsScape English v.5. To investigate dominant usage patterns, the case study employs an adapted “covarying collexeme analysis” capturing the co-varying lexical meanings contributed by X and Y. This is complemented by coarse-grained analyses of 54 co-speech gestures in the corpus data that are co-expressive with instantiations of the immersion schema. Identifying two major subschemas, the case study shows how figurative, i.e. metonymical and metaphorical, instantiations of the immersion schema draw on the conceptual and formal framework provided by formally identical ‘literal’ instantiations verbalizing actual bodily immersion experiences. To capture the relations in this network of instantiations and account for the productivity of the schema – especially the variation and creativity to be observed with its figurative instantiations – the chapter introduces the dynamic, usage- and construction-based notion of “idiom set”.
Keywords: construction, embodiment, figurativity, idiom set, metaphor, multi-modal corpus, usage-based model
- 1.Introduction: Embodiment, usage, metaphor
- 2.Multimodality in discourse and constructicon
- 3.The set of expressions licensed by the ‘immersion schema’
- 4.Case study: The idiom set licensed by [up to X in Y]
- 4.1Corpus data and methods applied
- 4.2Data retrieval and coding
- 4.3Results of the quantitative analyses of the verbal instantiations
- 4.4Interim discussion: Corpus data and embodiment
- 4.5Co-speech gestures: Results and discussion
- 5.Individual variation in the use of the immersion schema
- 6.Metaphoricity and creativity in the use of immersion idioms
- 7.Metaphor between embodiment and usage: Conclusions
Published online: 09 September 2022
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