Publication details [#3500]

Cienki, Alan. 2007. Review of Alice Deignan, 'Metaphor and Corpus Linguistics' Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2005, x + 236 p, 1-58-811647-6. Metaphor and Symbol 22 (2) : 195–200.


The difference between the results of relying on one's intuitions compared with the attested use found in a linguistic corpus is a central theme that runs throughout this book. Because Deignan is one of the rare scholars who has worked in both corpus linguistics and metaphor research, the book allows readers to benefit from the insights of her work in which the two fields come together. Special attention is given to what happens when the research methods and findings from the field of corpus linguistics are brought into interaction with the cognitive claims made in the field of conceptual metaphor theory (CMT). This focus provides many helpful insights, and also points to a number of questions that get at the heart of what is being claimed in CMT research. Ultimately this encounter helps describe some of the limits of CMT's potential. The introduction to the book sets the stage. Both corpus linguistics and CMT developed rapidly in the early 1980s (p. 5), yet researchers in the two fields have largely worked in isolation from each other. Deignan poses the question: To what degree can a theory of metaphor-as-thought account for patterns found in natural language? She pursues the answer using a cross-section of the Bank of English, around 56 million of the over 400 million words in the entire database. (Alan Cienki)