A 3D model for formal metaphor analysis: Metaphorical language, thought and communication from the perspective of genre

In this workshop we will attempt to make a distinction between language use and discourse and show how this distinction can clarify the study of metaphor. Since the publication of Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors we live by in 1980, it has become clear that metaphor is an important and ubiquitous component of language, thought and communication. Its use and functions can be explained by looking at the discourse environment in which metaphorical language, thought and communication take place.

This discourse environment is helpfully modeled by means of the notion of genre: language, thought and communication occur in genre events like emailing, reading the newspaper, having a conversation, and so on. People have genre repertoires that they employ when doing language, thought and communication in on-going language use, and the selection of a particular genre constrains their production, reception and interaction in all sorts of ways.

In this workshop we will show how metaphor in language use can be analyzed by means of a 3-dimensional model distinguishing its linguistic, conceptual and communicative properties, and how the use and functions of these properties can be studied by means of a genre-analytical approach to discourse. This may be seen as a case study in one phenomenon (metaphor) that can illustrate how all study of language use and discourse can be related to each other.