Analyzing Metaphor in Discourse— A 3D model for metaphor

This course aims to present an encompassing view of the way in which metaphor in discourse can be identified and analyzed. With Lakoff and Johnson (1980) and many of their followers the course assumes that metaphor is a matter of thought and can be defined as a mapping between (sets of) concepts in distinct conceptual domains, such as ARGUMENT and WAR. Such metaphors in thought are expressed in some semiotic code, such as language, often by means of conventionalized metaphorical expressions, such as Lakoff attacked Glucksberg or Steen defended the career of metaphor theory. What has recently come to the fore is the need to distinguish a third dimension of metaphor, apart from thought and language, which concerns communication: it is crucial to examine when metaphors are used as metaphors, that is, as rhetorical devices, in the on-going communication between language users. In other words, metaphor analysis requires a three-dimensional model examining metaphor’s role in language, thought and communication.

The course comprises five sessions in which this model is presented and its need is motivated and explained from the state of the art in metaphor studies. The course moreover presents a simple formal approach that enables researchers to make explicit when expressions are metaphorical and how they are metaphorical. In the latest version of this simple formal approach, insights from structural-functional grammar, cognitive linguistics and relevance theory are combined to produce complete analyses of the semiotic structures of metaphor in language, thought, and communication. At the end of the course, participants will be able to see through the theoretical complexities and apply the model to a range of cases.