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Metaphor and Metonymy at the Crossroad: A Cognitive Perspective

by Antonio Barcelona (ed.), 2000.Berlin / New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. viii +
356. ISBN: 3 11 016303 9.
Metaphor and Metonymy at the Crossroads is a collection of fifteen papers that seeks
to pinpoint the areas where metaphor and metonymy might meet, and to claim a
metonymic grounding for metaphoric mappings. In addition to invited contributions,
the collection is the outcome of two conferences in 1997 in the Netherlands and
Hungary. In two major parts, the collection studies interactions between metaphor and
metonymy, and the role of metaphor and metonymy in language structure and
discourse. The quality of the papers is uneven owing to their immediate and less
immediate relevance to the spirit of the collection.
Barcelonas Introduction, On the plausibility of claiming a metonymic
motivation for conceptual metaphor, gives a broad definition of metonymy, building
his defence of a metonymic motivation for metaphoric mappings on rebutting
Taylors (1995) argument that some synesthetic metaphors do not admit a metonymic
grounding. Barcelonas rebuttal of Taylors claim begs the question in more than one
respect. First, by capitalising on colours Barcelona treads on controversial ground.
Claiming that there are deviant colours is akin in early studies of stylistics to
considering some linguistic phenomena as deviant, which was massively criticised for
assuming a norm hard to find and determine. Second, judging by the definition of
metonymy defended, the relation called metonymy is not one (DEVIANT COLOURS
ARE DEVIANT SOUNDS) because it is not internal to the metonymic field, i.e.
colours are not part of sounds, mapping-wise; neither are sounds the effect of colours.
An alternative account of black mood is simply bad mood since essentially BLACK
IS BAD exists in many cultures.
In The scope of metaphor, Kvecses introduces three concepts for the
analysis of language and thought: the scope of metaphor (complex abstract systems
that constitute the range of target domains that a given source domain can apply to
and structure), main meaning focus (the imposition of a certain meaning orientation
on targets, which should not be confused with the Invariance Principle), and central
mappings (mapping the main meaning focus of the source onto the target). Central
mappings have conceptual, cultural, motivational, and linguistic characteristics.
Radden, in How metonymic are metaphors?, does not claim that all
metaphors are metonymy-based, but rather that the metaphor-metonymy relation
should be envisaged as a continuum. However, Radden ends up distinguishing four
major types of metonymy-based metaphors (having a common experiential basis,
related by implicature, involving category structure, interrelated by a cultural model).
Raddens call in his conclusion to do away with the distinction between metaphor and
metonymy is in contradiction with his claim at the beginning that all metaphors are
metonymy-based, and with the different definitions he gave of metaphor, metonymy
and metonymy-based metaphors.
In The role of mappings and domains in understanding metonymy, Mendoza
isolates two types of metaphor: one structur[ing] a relevant part of a domain, and the
other realising part of a domain but without structuring it, which means that
metonymies are cases of one-correspondence mappings within a domain, and
metaphor is a case of many-correspondence mappings. Mendoza offers conceptual
interaction and mental space theory to show the relation between metaphor and
metonymy, which is argued to be situated at the crossroads between the generic and

the target spaces, controlled through metonymy. Mendoza actually offers two views
of the relation between metaphor and metonymy: an Aristotelian view of metaphor,
where metonymy is clearly subsumed under metaphor (and argued to occur either
referentially or predicatively), and another where interaction between the two is
argued to be mediated by metonymy, which is more or less reminiscent of the
continuum versions proposed by Barcelona or Radden.
In Metaphor, metonymy and binding, Turner and Fauconnier argue that
mappings are not only inherited from the source domain into the target one, but seem
to function as a blend drawing on both domains, which seems to shake up the
foundation of the Invariance Hypothesis (Lakoff, 1993). According to conceptual
blending, the inferences related to the blend are inherited neither from the source nor
the target domains.
Panther and Thornburg, in The EFFECT FOR CAUSE metonymy, discuss
two types of EFFECT FOR CAUSE metonymies: RESULT FOR ACTION
metonymy in some action verbs, and PERCEPTUAL EVENT FOR ITS CAUSES.
Discussing the Whats that N construction, they explain that in its taxonomic sense
such a construction requires the GENERIC FOR SPECIFIC metonymy (Whats that
bird? a titmouse) or the PERCEPTUAL EVENT FOR ITS CAUSES metonymy in its
causal sense (Whats that bruise? I bumped into the deck). Such constructions are
reported to be frequent in expressions of hearing, seeing, smelling, and tasting, though
Panther and Thornburg mostly use fabricated examples to show the pertinence of their
point to grammar.
In Metaphorical extension of may and must into the epistemic domain,
Pelyvas rejects Sweetsers (1990) account of the interface between deontic and
epistemic modality, suggesting an account in line with Langackers (1991)
subjectification. The alternative account for may consists in assuming counteracting
forces of different strength instead of strong barriers, and in treating deontic and
epistemic may as deriving from an extinct ability meaning of may. One important
factor which, Pelyvas argues, is missing from Sweetsers account of deontic must and
may is, respectively, the fact that the doers reluctance to perform the action may
arise in many contexts (p. 243), and the fact that the speaker is not strong enough or
doesnt find it necessary to mobilize a force that is strong enough to prevent the action
from taking place (p. 238). To carry reluctance to perform actions further, it is not
always the case that the doers reluctance is not known to the speaker. Experience
with people is often relied upon to access some form of knowledge of their degree of
compliance or reluctance. Further, it is not clear whether people use should because
they want to be polite to the doer or because they think that the doers compliance is
not guaranteed. There are cases where the compliance with must is not guaranteed,
either (cases where power is challenged). In deontic situations, compliance may be a
function of the (im)balance of power between speaker and hearer or doer, where the
hearer weighs the consequences of not complying and where the speaker may have to
weigh the consequences of having issued the directive altogether.
Freeman, reacting to the practices of literary criticism, offers a cognitive
theory of literature in Toward a cognitive theory of literature. The basic tenets of
such a theory are metaphor, embodiment, and system mappings. Through the analysis
of Dickinsons poetry, Freeman delineates a cognitive theory that takes full advantage
of advances made in cognitive linguistics, concentrating on the language of literature
and avoiding the imposition of ideological stance on texts. In the last part of her
paper, Freeman compares her proposed cognitive theory of literature to three other
cognitive theories (discourse theory, possible worlds theory, and schema theory).

In The cohesive role of cognitive metaphor, Ponterotto assigns a cohesive

role to cognitive metaphor in discourse and conversation management. The cohesive
or stabilising effect of metaphor in the film text studied, I suggest, comes not only
from the re-use, i.e. partial recurrence or repetition of metaphors to this effect, but
also from contrast between two competing conceptual metaphors: DIVIDING IS
REIGNING (as a strategy used by the headmaster when he talked to Charles in the
absence of George) and SOLIDARITY IS CLOSENESS (as implemented by George
to warn Charles against the headmasters strategy).
In Muted metaphors and the activation of metonymies, Ungerer argues that
advertising functions through the interaction of metaphor and metonymy. Metaphors
inconsistent with the advertisers goals have to be muted in order for the GRABBING
metonymy to take place. The muting strategy in connection with the VW Passat
advert works well. However, the interpretation suggested for the Superkings Cigarette
advert is, though ingenious in itself, anything but self-evident, because it leads the
processor into a risky path and builds on conceptual associations and cancellations
that cannot be assumed from the advert target recipient.
The collection as a whole devotes itself to metaphor and metonymy as
interacting not repulsing each other. Although there seems to be limited agreement
among the different contributors about the nature of the interaction, most of them
agree on some form of interaction, usually doing more justice to metonymy. At the
editorial level, the inclusion of papers that are not fully in line with the immediate
concern of the collection, though most interesting in themselves for the investigation
of metaphor and metonymy separately, has had a weakening effect on the
homogeneity of the collection. Freeman, in particular, had a precious opportunity with
Plaths poem, The Applicant, to make metonymy meet metaphor, and integrate the
former as part of her cognitive theory of literature. Panther and Thornburgs paper is
devoted to the interaction between metonymy and grammar, and Goossenss paper
denies a place to metaphor and metonymy altogether, which is rather unexpected from
the proponent of metaphtonymies.
Lakoff, George (1993) The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor, in A. Ortony (ed.)
Metaphor and Thought (second edition), 202-251. Cambridge: CUP.
Langacker, Ronald W. (1991) Foundations of Cognitive Grammar (Volume 2).
Descriptive Application. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Sweetser, Eve (1990) From Etymology to Pragmatics. Metaphorical and Cultural
Aspects of Semantic Structure. Cambridge: CUP.
Taylor, John R. (1995) Linguistic Categorization. Prototypes in Linguistic Theory
(second edition). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Zouhair Maalej
University of Manouba, Tunis (Tunisia)