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CMT and the 'Work' of Metaphor

1Jagiellonian University, Kraków

Citation Information: Cognitive Semiotics. Volume 5, Issue 1-2, Pages 153–178, ISSN (Online) 2235-2066, DOI: 10.1515/cogsem.2013.5.12.153, January 2014

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I propose to show that, in their Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), Lakoff and his collaborators do not offer a new account of metaphor but rather a wide-ranging representation of analogies, reconstructed on the basis of selected linguistic material (primarily collocations and idioms). Consequently, CMT is valuable not as an explanation of metaphorical language in use, nor a hypothesis about the genesis and development of concepts in individual minds, but primarily as a way to represent the results of unexplored social processes of lexicalization involving metaphor. If one adopts a more 'ecological', situated perspective, this global, post hoc approach may perhaps provide useful material to speculate on the forces that drive meaning extension in history.

Keywords : conceptual metaphor; analogy; concept formation; blending; linguistic mentalism; stereotype; primacy of metaphor

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