METAPHOR AND METONYMYAS COGNITIVE PHENOMENA
Far from being ﬁgures restricted to literary texts with no relevance toeveryday conversation, both metaphor and met onymy are pragmatically,semantically, and syntactically important. By mapping an unfamiliar domainto a familiar one, metaphor allows us to structure our understanding of theunfamiliar domain, while metonymy focuses our attention on a particular characteristic of the target (the effect of which might be seen in thesyntactic phenomena of anaphoric reference to metonyms being restricted to the matrix domain whatever the direction of metonymic mapping); suchmappings once conventionalized allow semantic change to occur, or are grammaticalized into new syntactic constructions such as the middleconstruction. It cannot be doubted that both are cognitive phenomenainstead of purely linguistic ones, though their inﬂuence on our cognitionmight be clearly seen in the varied inﬂuences they have on our language.
While metaphor and metonymy is popularly recognized as classic figures of speechwith little or no relevance to everyday conversation, linguistic research inspired by Lakoffand Johnson’s memorable
Metaphors We Live By
have seen shown plenty of evidence tothe contrary. Panther and Thornburg claim for metonymy semantic, pragmatic, andsyntactic importance; this essay will attempt judge this claim with regard to both metonymyand metaphor.Silva Rhetoricae defines metaphor as “a comparison made by referring to one thingas another”, and metonymy as “reference to something or someone by naming one of itsattributes”. While these definitions work well in identifying figures of speech, however, theyobscure the conceptual processes which lead but are not restricted to these (linguistic)phenomena. Comic depictions of angry people, for example, are often variations on thetheme of the metaphor ANGER IS HEAT (for example by depicting an internal anger-meterin the form of a thermometer approaching boiling point, by drawing smoke
coming out ofthe head, or by utilising a further visual metaphor HEAT IS RED and depicting them with ared face, as seen in Appendix 1). Even in real life, Bolinger (1975: 21f.) notes thatinstinctive gestures such as laughter tend to synechodize
. In addition, the proposition of a
Metaphor and Metonymy as Cognitive PhenomenaMonday, 12 March 2012
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We might take this to be stemming from a further metonymy EFFECT FOR CAUSE, where over-heating is indicated by its possible effect (smoking) on an entity.
Using only part of the motions (e.g. curling up the lips) to stand for the entire gesture (e.g.laughter) would be a kind of gestural synecdoche, which as part-for-whole mappings belong under metonymy.