Edited by Nina Julich-Warpakowski and Paula Pérez-Sobrino
[Metaphor and the Social World 13:1] 2023
► pp. 59–80
This paper discusses a way of operationalizing metaphoricity quantitatively using a numerical measure of the semantic distance between two domains. We demonstrate the construct validity of this measure with respect to metaphoricity and creativity judgments in the domain of English synesthetic metaphors – expressions such as sweet melody and loud color that involve combinations of terms from conceptually distinct sensory modalities. In a pre-registered study, we find that a continuous measure of sensory modality difference predicts metaphoricity and creativity judgments. While our results use synesthetic metaphors as a test case, it is possible to extend the application of our measure of semantic distance to other metaphorical expressions. In addition to demonstrating the utility of this measure, this work also demonstrates the utility of rating data in the domain of metaphor research.