Publication details [#6778]

Koller, Veronika. 2006. Review of Masako K. Hiraga. 'Metaphor and Iconicity: A Cognitive Approach to Analysing Texts'. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005. 261 pp., ISBN 1-409-3345-6. Cognitive Linguistics 17 (4) : 574–580.
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This book boldly calls into question the received wisdom, usually traced back to Saussurean semiotics, that linguistic signs are by nature arbitrary, i.e. parts of a rule-governed sign system without any inherent similarity between signifier and signified. Hiraga claims that iconicity, rather than being the exception that proves the rule, is in fact a pervasive principle in the cognitive processes governing text production and interpretation. Further, she maintains that metaphor and iconicity are not the two different tropes as which they are often discussed, but are connected in complex ways. To make her point, the author adapts blending theory to show the pervasiveness of metaphor and iconicity, and the relations between them, in her analysis of a number of Japanese and English poems from different periods. (Veronika Koller)