Are similes and metaphors interchangeable?
A case study in opinion discourse
Since Aristotle, scholars have regarded similes and metaphors as equivalent figures of speech sharing very similar comprehension, interpretation and usage patterns. By analysing the use of similes in real discourse, the aim of this study is to show that these two analogical figures reflect different cognitive processes, as well as different discursive functions, using as a framework cognitive models. To this end, this work presents, first, the main differentiating features of the two figures existing in the literature. And, second, it analyses 100 natural-occurring similes in English opinion discourse (news, interviews and commentary sections) in order to explain the conceptual-semantic and formal-syntactic factors which explain why similes and metaphors are not interchangeable in the discourse type under study; that is, why metaphors can usually be transformed into similes by adding like, whereas the opposite process seems to depend on specific conditions of structure, use and interpretation.
- 2.What is a simile?
- 3.Similes vs. metaphors: An overview
- 4.Are metaphors and similes interchangeable in English opinion discourse?
- 4.1Data and methodology
- 4.2Similes in opinion discourse
- 4.3Results and discussion
- 4.3.1Test 1: Incidence of transformed metaphors in WebCorp and Google
- 4.3.2Test 2: Transformation of similes (“A is like B”) into metaphors (“A is B”)
- a.Conceptual, semantic factors
- b.Formal, syntactic factors
- 4.3.3Test 3: Native subjects’ intuitions
- 5.Some conclusions
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Cited by 5 other publications
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