Publication details [#63567]

Lou, Adrian. 2017. Multimodal simile. The “when” meme in social media discourse. English Text Construction 10 (1) : 106–131.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper analyzes the “when” meme, a popular internet meme, which prototypically juxtaposes a when clause with an ostensibly unrelated image. Despite the initial incongruity, this paper contends this image prompts selective mapping between verbal and visual elements to produce a multimodal simile. First, it attempts to define and more clearly distinguish simile from metaphor. Second, it shows how this multimodal simile exhibits unique viewpoint mapping by prompting audiences to subsume viewpoints that are both unfamiliar and bizarre. Third, it connects the like construction in simile with the like reported speech marker to show how both concepts are intimately related. Ultimately, the paper seeks to contribute to studies of simile by bolstering its ties with multimodality, blending, metonymy, viewpoint, and embodiment.