Publication details [#8609]

Panther, Klaus-Uwe and Günter Radden. 1999. Metonymy in Language and Thought (Human Cognitive Processing series LC 99-23468). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. ix, 423 pp.
Publication type
Book – monograph
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The cognitive understanding of metaphor and metonymy is certainly at variance with both naive and traditional scholarly views, which have strongly been influenced by centuries of rhetorical and literary studies. The cleavage between literal and figurative language, which was taken for granted by traditional rhetoric and linguistics, has recently been challenged by Gibbs (1994: 24-79; and this volume). Still, we owe the first basic insights into the nature of tropes to Greek, Roman and medieval scholars, modern literary critics and linguists. Many different classifications of tropes have been proposed, starting with Aristotle, who subsumed metonymy and synecdoche under metaphor, and more recently by the Groupe de Liège or Groupe m, which subsumed metaphor and metonymy under synecdoche (see Schofer and Rice 1977). Some of these ideas on metonymy definitely have a modern, cognitive tinge. Various contributors to this volume (Koch, Blank, and Nerlich, Todd and Clarke) link their cognitive approach to metonymy to this rhetorical tradition. The authors of the contributions to this volume have different theoretical backgrounds and are affiliated with different disciplines: linguistics, psycholinguistics, psychology and literary studies. Many of them share the assumption that metonymy is a cognitive phenomenon underlying much of our ordinary thinking and that the use of metonymy in language is a reflection of its conceptual status. The conceptual framework within which metonymy is understood in most of these contributions is that of scenes, frames, scenarios, domains or idealized cognitive models (ICMs). Within these models, a metonymic link may be established between two conceptual entities in the broadest sense. This view supersedes the traditional assumption of metonymy as having primarily a referential function, a view which was still held by Lakoff and Johnson (1980).The papers read at the conference and collected in this volume address a wide range of topics related to metonymy. The papers have been grouped into four parts. Part 1 deals with theoretical aspects of metonymy as a cognitive process. Part 2 investigates historical aspects of metonymy within a cognitive framework. Part 3 contains a number of case studies on selected metonymies or aspects of metonymy. Part 4 explores the notion of metonymy in its application to language acquisition and literary criticism. (Klaus-Uwe Panther and Günter Radden)

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