4th International Seminar on Metaphor and Discourse

The IV International Seminar on Metaphor and Discourse will focus especially on the New Cognitive Domains in the 21st Century, but all aspects of metaphor in discourse are objects of study and debate in the Seminar. Following previous editions, the IV International Seminar on Metaphor and Discourse will be held at Universitat Jaume I (UJI), Castelló de la Plana, Spain (3 -4 December 2015).

Contributions are encouraged on all aspects of metaphor and discourse studies, departing from the basic tenets on conceptual metaphor theory already set by landmark publications like Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980) up to the more recently emergent trends that deal with the study of metaphor in discourse and thought.

Our aim is to bring together specialists and researchers involved in these research matters in order to discuss recent contributions to the field, as well as to open new debates about the relevance of metaphor in discourse.

The following speakers have so far accepted the invitation to participate in the seminar:

– Dr. Gerard Steen (University of Amsterdam)

– Dr. Elena Semino (University of Lancaster)

– Dr. Zoltán Kövecses (Eötvös Loránd University,  Budapest)

Luzia Goldmann visiting scholar at the Metaphor Lab

From September to December 2015, Luzia Goldmann will be in Amsterdam as a visiting scholar at the Metaphor Lab. Here, she will be working on her PhD-project “Transfigurations of Metaphor”. With this project, Luzia aims to investigate the explanatory and interpretative potential that contemporary cognitive approaches to metaphor can offer to the research in literary studies. The project is designed as a twofold attempt that takes into account the historical background of the different metaphor theories that are rooted in their contemporary philosophical, linguistic and religious background as well as a systematic perspective on recurring elements and continuous developments of assumptions, arguments and perspectives on metaphor throughout the centuries. During her stay in the Metaphor Lab she aims to gain a better understanding of the scope of current metaphor theories outside the field of literary studies and in how far these different approaches might offer fruitful inspirations for her own field.

She will talk about her project during the Metaphor Lab research meeting (3 November).

Workshop ‘Visual Metaphors, Intercultural Communication and Migration’ by Marianna Bolognesi

Before the beginning of the Intercultural Horizons Conference, Dr. Marianna Bolognesi will give a workshop entitled ‘Visual Metaphors, Intercultural Communication and Migration’ in Cagliari, Italy.

Visual metaphors are highly structured images with ad-hoc created visual incongruences that capture the viewer’s attention and push her to build one or more petaphorical correspondences between concepts that are depicted or cued by the image itself.

Such images are commonly used in advertising to highlight specific features of the product to be sold (a facial cream depicted next to a dandelion, to cue the lightness and delicacy of its texture), in social campaigns (the globe depicted as a melting cone, to suggest the effects of global warming), in political cartoons (recently, prophet Mohammad depicted as a patient on a wheelchair and as other non-sacred characters, in Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons), as well as in several illustrations used for educational and artistic purposes.

The power of visual metaphors is multifaceted. In the field of intercultural communication visual metaphors allow expression of concepts that might not have a linguistic equivalent in a foreign language, concepts that appear as taboo in a foreign culture, concepts with a heavy emotional connotation, or abstract concepts that are otherwise hard to express through words. For these reasons, knowing how these images are constructed is crucial for intercultural practitioners.

In this workshop, the inner structure of these images will be investigated, and different models for visual metaphor identification and analysis will be presented and applied to images that relate to the field of intercultural communication and migration. The workshop is led by Dr. Marianna Bolognesi, who has been recently awarded with a EU Marie Curie research fellowship. Dr. Bolognesi is currently working on visual metaphors at the Metaphor Lab.

Sıla Gen successfully defended her PhD thesis

Monday 7 September, Sıla successfully defended her PhD thesis “Metaphors in Uzbek” (Özbekçede Metaforlar) at Cukurova University. Prof. Dr. Deniz Abik from Cukurova University was the supervisor of her thesis. She spend one year of her dissertation project at the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam under the supervision of Prof. dr. Gerard Steen. She examined the conceptual metaphors in Uzbek literary texts. Findings of the study show that conceptual metaphors are grounded in cultural, daily or bodily experiences; novel metaphors are merely used in Uzbek literary texts; and metaphors in Uzbek are in accordance with metaphors in Chinese and English.

Congratulations, Sıla!

PhD defence Patricia Pineda

Tuesday 15 September at 11:45, Patricia Pineda defends her PhD thesis Looking for and making sense of ‘special’ words. Metaphor recognition and interpretation by schoolchildren in the aula of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Main Building). Prof. dr. Gerard Steen is the promoter of Patricia’s thesis.
Patricia explored metaphor recognition and interpretation by 8 to 12 years-old children in literary and science text fragments. Her findings show an independent effect of school grade and reading comprehension, with children scoring considerably higher on interpretation than on recognition of metaphors.

Paula Pérez-Sobrino starts EMMA project

On October 5, 2015, dr. Paula Pérez-Sobrino will start her Marie Curie project: EMMA.

EMMA (European Multimodal Metaphor in Advertising) aims to redress the combination of metaphor and metonymy in multimodal settings (such as advertising) by testing figurative complexity and emotions, the impact of these on comprehension, accuracy of interpretation and advertising effectiveness. This project involves an interdisciplinary study that combines cognitive and physiological psychology with linguistic and marketing interpretations. A mixed-methods approach of lab experiments and qualitative inquiry will assess the speed and depth of comprehension, the perceived appeal, and the physiological effect of static and video advertisements on participants from three linguistic and cultural backgrounds (English, Spanish, and Chinese). If advertisers, charities and NGOs target, and are sensitive to, linguistic and cultural differences in metaphors, local and international communities can benefit from specific, appropriate and ethical advertising.

This project is based at the University of Birmingham and will run for two years.


  • Paula Pérez-Sobrino (Research Fellow, Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics): expertise on interactional patterns between multimodal metaphor and metonymy.
  • Jeannette Littlemore (Principal Investigator, Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics): expertise on metaphor, cross-linguistic variation and linguistic analysis.
  • David Houghton (Co-Investigator, Department of Marketing, Birmingham Business School): expertise on marketing, viralisation, and experimental experience.

Partner institutions


  • Metaphor Lab at the University of Amsterdam & Free University of Amsterdam, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands): Prof Gerard Steen and Dr Charles Forceville will provide their expertise in multimodal metaphor identification analysis. Likewise, EMMA will establish a connection with Marianna Bolognesi (Marie Curie fellow), who coordinates the annotation of Vismet, the first broad scale corpus of visual metaphors) in order to coordinate the joint organisation of workshops, conference panels, and training sessions. The Metaphor Lab will provide access to data and contact with people working in advertising both in the public and private.
  • University of Nottingham-Ningbo (Ningbo, China): Dr Margaret Dowens will bring her expertise on psyhcolinguistics and will provide facilities for the testing Chinese participants.
  • University of La Rioja (Logroño, Spain): Prof. Ruiz de Mendoza and Dr. Lorena Pérez Hernández will assess the project on theoretical issues. Additionally, they will provide facilities for the testing Chinese participants.


EMMA will get real by collaborating with the private sector.

Three advertising companies will posit real world problems and needs. The aim beneath these collaborations is to achieve a more down-to-earth, skilled, and business-oriented analysis and consideration of the data.

  • Publicis Chemistry London (http://www.publicischemistry.com/)
  • VCCP Spain (http://www.vccp.es/)
  • Anuncios.com (http://www.anuncios.com/)

Review of Metaphor in Psychotherapy

Wen Ma and Yijin Wu of the School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Shandong University, P.R. China, reviewed Metaphor in Psychotherapy: A Descriptive and Prescriptive Analysis ( 2013) by Dennis Tay. This book is part of the book series Metaphor in Language, Cognition, and Communication.

You can read the review here!

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