Creativity and Convention

The pragmatics of everyday figurative speech

| University College, London
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027253996 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
 
e-Book
ISBN 9789027292131 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
 
This book offers a pragmatic account of the interpretation of everyday metaphorical and idiomatic expressions. Using the framework of Relevance Theory, it reanalyses the results of recent experimental research on figurative utterances and provides a novel account of the interplay of creativity and convention in figurative interpretation, showing how features ‘emerge’ during metaphor comprehension and how literal meaning contributes to idiom comprehension. The central claim is that the mind is rather selective when processing information, and that in the pragmatic interpretation of both literal and figurative utterances, this selectivity often results in the creation of new (‘ad hoc’) concepts or the standardization of pragmatic routines. With this approach, the comprehension of metaphors and idioms requires no special pragmatic principles or procedures not required for the interpretation of ordinary literal utterances, but follows from an automatic tendency towards selective processing which is itself a by-product of Sperber and Wilson’s Cognitive Principle of Relevance.
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 156]  2007.  xii, 249 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements
XI
Introduction
1
Human creative cognition and selective processing
5
1. Introduction
5
2. The selective mind
7
2.1 Selective processing
7
2.2 Selectivity and ad hoc categories
9
3. Human memory and information processing
12
3.1 The Encoding Specificity Principle
12
3.2 Memory processes and lexical fl exibility
14
4. Concept construction and selective processing
16
4.1 Selective processing and the instability of graded structure
16
4.2 Constrains on concept instability
18
5. The Depth of Processing Hypothesis
22
5.1 Standard ideas and research
22
5.2 Beyond the Depth of Processing Hypothesis
25
6. Conclusion
28
Relevance Theory
29
1. Introduction
29
2. Basic notions of relevance-theoretical pragmatics
30
2.1 The Cognitive Principle of Relevance and the definition of relevance
30
2.2 The Communicative Principle and the comprehension procedure
33
3. Relevance Theory and utterance interpretation
35
4. Accessibility of contextual assumptions
40
5. Lexical pragmatics
44
6. Conclusion
52
Metaphor, interaction and property attribution
53
1. Introduction
53
2. Traditional views on metaphor
54
3. A challenge to the Literal Priority Claim
56
4. From property matching to property attribution
61
5. The Class-Inclusion theory: Attribution, interaction and categorisation
65
5.1 Metaphor and ad hoc categories
66
5.2 Interaction in interpretation
67
5.3 Problems with the Class Inclusion View
69
6. The emergence problem
75
6.1 Experimental work on emergence
76
6.2 Emergence and the Class-Inclusion Theory
78
6.3 Emergence and Blending Theory
78
7. The transformation problem
81
8. Conclusion: Towards a cognitively-adequate pragmatic approach
84
Relevance Theory and metaphor interpretation
87
1. Introduction
87
2. Relevance, literalness and metaphor interpretation
87
2.1 Lexical pragmatics and loose use
91
3. Pragmatic adjustment and metaphor interpretation
96
3.1 Relevance Theory and emergence
101
3.2 Relevance Theory and the transformation problem
105
3.3 The bulldozer case
109
4. Creative and standardised loose uses
112
4.1 Inferential routes and pragmatic routines
116
5. Conclusion
119
Relevance Theory and cognitive approaches to metaphor
121
1. Introduction
121
2. Relevance Theory and standard assumptions on metaphor research
121
3. Relevance Theory and the Class-inclusion theory
124
3.1 Experimental evidence
128
4. Conceptual metaphor theory
131
4.1 Conceptual Metaphor theory and Relevance Theory
137
5. Conclusion
141
Analysability in idiom comprehension
143
1. Introduction
143
2. Idioms: Arbitrariness or compositionality?
143
3. Idioms as (partly) analysable phrases
148
4. Psycholinguistic research on the analysability of idioms
153
4.1 The role of analysability in idiom use and interpretation
154
4.2 Comments on experimental research
158
5. The nature of compositionality
163
5.1 Composition and decomposition
164
5.2 Analysability as transparency
166
5.3 Decomposition and transparency
168
6. Analysability and the processing and representation of idioms
170
6.1 The activation of idiomatic meaning
171
6.1.1 The Configuration Hypothesis
172
6.2 Activation and integration in processing
173
7. Conclusion
175
Idioms, transparency and pragmatic inference
177
1. Introduction
177
2. Idioms, metaphors and unfamiliar words
178
3. Making sense of idioms
185
3.1 Synchronic rationale
187
3.2 The contribution of word meaning
192
3.3 Conclusions on acquisition
193
4. Familiar Idioms: Representation and processing
196
4.1 Activation and interpretation
200
5. Pragmatic adjustment
203
5.1 Word meaning and idiom meaning
205
6. Interpreting idiom variants
207
7. Some conclusions on idiom processing and idiom variants
213
8. Conclusion
215
Creativity and convention beyond figurative speech
217
1. Introduction
217
2. Creativity and convention in language
217
3. The psychology of routines
221
3.1 Controlled and automatic processing
221
3.2 Automaticity and expertise
222
3.3 Stages in expertise development and degrees of automaticity
224
4. Conclusion
227
Conclusion
229
References
231
Index
245
“By bringing together ideas from relevance-theoretic pragmatics and empirical results from a wide range of psycholinguistic experiments, this study of metaphor and idiom achieves a unique and illuminating synthesis. Of particular interest is a new and original explanation of how so-called 'emergent properties' can be recovered in the process of on-line inferential comprehension. This book is a significant contribution to work on metaphor, creative cognition more generally, and cognitive pragmatics.”
“This book is a major step forward in our understanding of the interplay between creativity and convention in utterance interpretation, and in the interpretation of metaphor and idiom in particular. Using the pragmatic framework of relevance theory, and drawing on a wide range of experimental results from psycholinguistics, it is the first serious and sustained attempt to show that metaphor and idiom do not require special interpretive mechanisms, but are understood in the same way as ordinary, literal utterances. It is an original and important contribution to the field, and deserves to be very widely read.”
Creativity and Convention is a valuable book for scholars interested in pragmatic processes of understanding figurative speech and sharing cognitive pragmatic presumptions. [...] Vega Moreno's ambitious book is an inspiring and absorbing reading.”
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Subjects
BIC Subject: CFG – Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2007003850 | Marc record