Vol. 27:1 (2014) ► pp. 187–207
Understanding figurative thought from a cognitive-linguistic perspective
The notion of “conceptual mapping”, as a set of correspondences between conceptual domains, was popularized in Cognitive Semantics, following seminal work by Lakoff & Johnson (1980), as a way of accounting for the basic cognitive activity underlying metaphor and metonymy. Strangely enough, Cognitive Semantics has paid little, if any, attention to other cases of so-called figurative language such as hyperbole, irony, paradox, and oxymoron. This paper contends that it is possible to account for these and other figures of thought in terms of the notion of conceptual mapping. It argues that the differences between these and other figurative uses of language are a matter of the nature of the domains involved in mappings and how they are made to correspond. Additionally, this paper examines constraints on mappings and concludes that the same factors that constrain metaphor and metonymy are operational in the case of mappings for the other figures of thought under discussion.
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