Chapter 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. 243–264
Cognitive, because it’s social
We’ve long recognized that figurative language is social in multiple ways. But new developments in both socio-cognitive neuroscience and linguistic pragmatics suggests that the extent to which all language, figurative and everything else, might be considered social has been underestimated. This chapter first reviews the three main neurally-driven and evolutionarily-constructed powerful social drives in people, motivating us to form social connections, to maintain or improve our status in social networks and hierarchies, and to form a sense-of-self derived from social expectations. The chapter then covers the 9 or 10 different ways in which figurative language, non-figurative language, indirect language and a handful of other processes on the “other-side-of-meaning” (Colston, 2019), exist fundamentally to service those powerful social motivations, several of which are not usually considered in discussions of the sociality of figurative and other language.
Keywords: figurative language, social connection, social status, socially derived sense-of-self, pragmatic effects
- Social motivations: Our social addiction
- Social connection
- Social status
- Socially derived sense-of-self
- Language (figurative and other): Our social fix
- Figurative language and pragmatic effects
- Figurative language and social processes
- Language’s social foundation
- Figurative language revisited: Affording sociality through cognitive ability consideration
- The forms of figurativity
- Figurative (and other) language, cognition and social functioning
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