Publication details [#10583]

Tamba-Mecz, Irène. 1994. Métaphore et classification: Les structures en 'le N1 est un N2'. Revista Linguagem em Foco 19 : 101–116. 16 pp.


Syntactic, semantic, and discursive properties of French sentences of the type 'Le...est un...' ( a...), which serve as the formal base of classificatory and metaphorical statements having a generic singular noun as subject, are analyzed to investigate possible commonalities between the two statement types. The sentence type is claimed to have a single structural sense, based on the syntactic and referential status of its nominal terms and the syntactic and prepositional roles of the copula. Three canonical interpretations of the sentence type are distinguished: (1) generic analytic, expressing a hyperonymic relation; (2) generic synthetic, determining classification by extension of a feature of individuals to typifying a class; and (3) metaphorical, based on partial analogy. In more complex discourse relations, e.g., when used in exposition, evaluation, and definitions, the three interpretations lose their distinctiveness. (Copyright 1996, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.) (LLBA 1996, vol. 30, n. 1)