Hoe metaforen ons denken bepalen [How metaphors determine our thinking, ed.]

[Article in Dutch]

In de Correspondent verscheen onlangs een artikel over de mens als oplaadbare batterij, geschreven door Lynn Berger. Ze sprak hierover Gerard Steen.

“Opladen, bijtanken en energie opdoen, we zijn er maar druk mee. De meest surreële variant is misschien wel van Ikea, die een slapende baby toefluistert: ‘Laad, kindje, laad.’ De wetenschap leert dat zulke metaforen doorwerken in ons denken, onze beleving, en onze emoties.”

Lees hier verder.

2 PhD positions available

We currently have vacancies for two PhD positions within the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam, on the topic of contemporary political satire. These vacancies are funded through an NWO/VIDI grant awarded to Christian Burgers. The successful candidates will be based in the Department of Communication Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

You can find the text of the vacancies at:




Interested candidates can apply between 8 March 2018 and 30 April 2018.

First keynote at Metaphor Festival 2018: Ray Gibbs

The organizing committee of Metaphor Festival 2018 is thrilled to announce that Prof. Raymond Gibbs will be one of our two keynotes! We are excited to see what interesting discussions this may lead to… Stay tuned for the announcement of our second keynote!

Our deadline has been extended until the 1st of April, so this is your chance so submit your abstract (here) while you still can!

Metaphor, hyperbole, and irony: Uses in isolation and in combination in written discourse

Christian Burgers, Kiki Y. Renardel de Lavalette and Gerard J. Steen published their paper on ‘Metaphor, hyperbole, and irony: Uses in isolation and in combination in written discourse’ in Journal of Pragmatics. You can download the paper for free from https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Wc2K1L-nh7sW0 (link valid until 13 April 2018).


While classical theories on rhetoric cluster figurative devices like metaphor, hyperbole, and irony under the encompassing category of tropes, current theories and research typically focus on one of the tropes in isolation. To determine how these different tropes are used in combinations, we conducted a large-scale corpus analysis of Dutch printed news discourse (54,851 words). For metaphor and hyperbole, we find that typical combinations are found in nouns and adjectives, showing that such combinations differ from the use of either trope in isolation. For hyperbole and irony, we find a relation between the two tropes in that ironic clauses contain more hyperbole than non-ironic clauses. In contrast, for metaphor and irony, we find no empirical evidence that the use of metaphors differs between ironic and non-ironic clauses. Analysis of clauses containing the three tropes of metaphor, hyperbole and irony shows that these may not always reflect novel and creative word use. Instead, various cases seem to contain conventional uses of metaphor and hyperbole.

Metaphor Lab Winter School 2018: a report

From Sunday evening the 21st of January until Friday evening 26th, master students, PhDs and post doc researchers attended our ‘advanced level’ Winter School, this year themed as “Deliberate Metaphor Theory: a theoretical and empirical merit”. Gerard Steen held plenary talks in the morning, after which the students followed a course of their choosing on visual metaphor, metaphor in argumentation, or the identification of deliberate metaphor in discourse, taught by Jean Wagemans, Susan Nacey, Tina Krennmayr, Gudrun Reijnierse and Marianna Bolognesi. Participants did not only learn more about metaphor theory but also got to know each other better during our social activities. We would like to thank everyone who took part in the Winter School and in particular our sponsors!


Metaphor Festival 2018: CALL FOR PAPERS

The Metaphor Lab Amsterdam is delighted to announce that the next Metaphor Festival will take place in Amsterdam from 30 August 30 through 1 September 2018.

The Metaphor Festival is an annual conference on the use of figurative language and other modes of figurative expression. It offers an opportunity to present and learn about research findings concerning figurative uses in different types of human communication, and their cognitive, cultural, narrative, poetic, rhetorical, political, social, textual or discourse functions and effects. Contributions to the general session of the Festival can address the linguistic and/or literary character and use of tropes – metaphor, metonymy, simile, oxymoron, hyperbole, litotes, punning, and irony – or the character and use of rhyme schemes, various types of parallelism and other formal poetic constructions, as well as the nature of figurative signs and devices in multi-modal or non-verbal communication.


Abstracts should be 300 words maximum and should be written in English (please provide glosses or translations for examples in other languages).

Abstracts reporting on empirical data should have four sections: introduction, methods, findings, and conclusions. Abstracts providing a purely theoretical or philosophical contribution should have three sections: introduction, main argument, and conclusions.

All abstracts should end with a one-sentence take-home-message. Authors need to make sure that their identities cannot be retrieved from the abstract itself, and should include blind reference to their work that is not yet publicly available (i.e., papers in press, under review and. or in preparation).


All abstracts can now be submitted via the submission website. Deadline for submission is 15 March 2018.


Please keep an eye on our website www.metaphorlab.org for any updates. You are welcome to contact the organizing committee at metaphorfestivalamsterdam@gmail.com in case of any enquiries.

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