Metaphorical blending in complex proverbs
A case study
Metaphor-based accounts of expressions involving a set of metaphors do not indicate how complex meaning is generated. For instance, meaning of the expression ‘this surgeon is a butcher’ is taken to arise from one metaphor: a person who performs actions with certain characteristics is a member of a profession known for those characteristics (Lakoff, 2008). But this metaphor does not explain its negative meaning. Blending Theory, in contrast, offers a convincing solution to this issue. Notwithstanding, it regards the expression as nonmetaphorical. I aim to combine Metaphor Theory and Blending Theory into a broad approach that best describes complex metaphorical expressions. I will apply it, first, to ‘this surgeon is a butcher’ and, second, to a pair of related proverbs: ‘God is in the details’ and ‘the devil is in the details’. Meanings of these proverbs will be assumed to emerge from three integration networks. Each operation uses two metaphors as inputs and yields a blend, comprising a new metaphor and a coded illocutionary force. The new metaphor structures their meanings, whereas the illocutionary force determines their conditions of use. The proverbs will be shown to behave, paradoxically, both as synonyms and antonyms.
Keywords: proverbs, conceptual metaphor, blending, metaphoric integration, complex meaning, synonymy, antonymy
- 2.Theoretical flexibility
- 2.1Conceptual metaphor theory
- 2.2Blending theory
- 2.3Towards a broad approach
- 3.Synonymy in the field of proverbs
- 3.1How conceptual metaphors motivate synonymy in proverbs
- 3.2Three main lines for research on synonymy
- 4.A case study. A special pair of related proverbs
- 4.1A metaphor-based account: Some limitations
- 4.2Three distinct conceptual integration networks
- 4.3Illocutionary forces are prompts for different categories of meaning
Published online: 08 September 2021
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