Publication details [#14649]

Shan, Liyang. 2019. On the Use of Complex Systems Theory in Metaphor Analysis: Taking the Discourse Dynamics Approach to Metaphor as an Example. Foreign Language and Literature 35 (6) : 93–100. 8 pp. URL
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Article in journal
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Stemming from natural sciences, Complex Systems Theory(CST) studies systems that feature connectivity, dynamic change, and nonlinearity. In recent years, researchers including Cameron and Gibbs introduced CST to metaphor analysis, and proposed the Discourse Dynamics Approach that focuses on the systematicity of linguistic metaphors in use, constituting a brand-new turn in metaphor analysis. While a few researchers in China have discussed theories related to the turn, none has introduced or commented on the new research paradigm. This paper starts by analyzing why CST can produce methodological implications for metaphor analysis. Then, taking the Discourse Dynamics Approach as an example, this paper summarizes the key features of the CST-based research methods from four aspects: metaphor identification, metaphor tagging, systematicity description, and metaphor explanation. Lastly, this paper points out CST's unique contributions to studying metaphors in use, as well as the limitations of the current research methods, thus bringing new perspectives to studying metaphors in humanities and social sciences.