Metaphor Festival ’19

Amsterdam, 28 – 31 August 2019

The Metaphor Lab Amsterdam is delighted to announce the fourth Amsterdam Metaphor Festival Amsterdam!


The final program for this year’s Festival can be consulted here.

The book of abstracts for this year’s Festival can be consulted here.

Registration for the Metaphor Festival Amsterdam ’19 is now open!

The deadline for registration and payment for visitors is August 23, 2019.

The deadline for registration and payment for participants whose abstract has been accepted was June 15, 2019.

Register online via: http://metaphorlab.org/registration-metaphor-festival-19/

The conference starts on Wednesday 28 August with a social gathering (evening, optional) and formally opens on Thursday 29 August at 9.00AM. The conference closes on Saturday 31 August at the end of the afternoon.

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 the structures, functions, and effects of figurative language in different types of human communication. Contributions to the Festival can address tropes such as metaphor, metonymy, hyperbole and irony.

This year’s keynote speakers are:

  • prof. dr. Anjan Chatterjee (Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania)
    • What’s not right about metaphor processing?
      Since Broca, Wernicke, and Lichtheim, the idea that the left hemisphere specializes in processing language is well accepted. In the late 1970s and 80s the right hemisphere began to be viewed as playing a unique role in language processing, specifically for figurative language. This view was bolstered by the hypothesis that the right hemisphere specializes in coarse coding of semantics, a specialization that is plausibly relevant for the mapping of one concept to another when understanding metaphor. Data in support of this hypothesis have been mixed, in large part because of conceptual and methodological limitations of earlier studies. To overcome these limitations we developed new well-controlled matched metaphor and literal sentence stimuli. Armed with these stimuli, we conducted functional neuroimaging studies in healthy people, and studies of patients with focal brain damage and neurodegenerative disorders. Supported by these results, we challenge the received wisdom that the right hemisphere plays a privileged role in metaphor processing. 

  • dr. Bodo Winter (Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics, University of Birmingham)
    • Language and the senses: The role of perceptual metaphor
      One of the most fundamental capacities of language is the ability to express what speakers see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. Without the ability to express perceptual content, language would be utterly useless. It turns out that metaphor is one of the key components that helps speakers to express their perceptions. Expressions such as “smooth melody” and “sweet music”, often called “synesthetic metaphors”, perform mappings across sensory modalities. It has been proposed that these metaphors are governed by a hierarchy of the senses, where touch, taste and smell words are used to describe sights and sounds, but not the other way round. I will use this as a test case to demonstrate that asymmetry in metaphorical mapping does not exclusively depend on differences in concreteness. Moreover, I will show how freely available lexical data can be used to statistically model metaphorical asymmetry as a multidimensional phenomenon where asymmetries are shown to arise from multiple different factors. These findings have wide-ranging implications for metaphor research in general, as they invite us to rethink what we mean by asymmetry in metaphorical mapping, and as they relate to the embodied foundations of metaphor research.


The conference will be held at the P.C Hoofthuis, Spuistraat 134, Amsterdam.

Conference presenters and attendees need to book their own accommodation. Similar to previous years, StayOkay offers a discount for Metaphor Festival presenters and attendees who would like to stay in a shared room. Please find information about accommodation here.

Check the Metaphor Lab website and the Festival’s Facebook page for any updates. 
You are welcome to contact the organizing committee at
metaphorfestivalamsterdam[at]gmail[dot]com in case of any enquiries.