Publication details [#2283]

Forceville, Charles. 1995. Asymmetry in metaphor: The importance of extended context. Poetics Today 16 (4) : 677–708. 32 pp.


It is argued that Max Black's interaction theory of metaphor clearly suggests that there is a unidirectional transfer from tenor to vehicle in the projection of metaphorical features. Three experimental studies of the principles guiding metaphor feature transfer (Honeck, Richard P., and Hoffmann, Robert R. (1980); Malgady, Robert G., and Johnson, Michael G. (1980); and Connor, Kathleen, and Kagan, Nathan (1980)) are criticized for failing to consider contexts beyond the sentence level, a failure traced to an inadequate understanding of the function of metaphor. Because metaphors are used to argue or convey something, their role can be understood only in the specific context of these rhetorical situations. Thus, it is asserted that the transfer of metaphor features is from vehicle to tenor and that context always determines the distribution of these features. Several exceptions to this general principle are considered. (Copyright 1997, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.) (LLBA 1997, vol. 31, n. 2)