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Introduction to corpus session General corpora Rosamund Moon: lexicography, polysemy data Alice Deignan Specialised corpora Elena Semino Andreas Musolff.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to corpus session General corpora Rosamund Moon: lexicography, polysemy data Alice Deignan Specialised corpora Elena Semino Andreas Musolff."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to corpus session General corpora Rosamund Moon: lexicography, polysemy data Alice Deignan Specialised corpora Elena Semino Andreas Musolff

2 Corpus linguistics Seeks to account for all citations (or a large, random sample) of a word, including all its inflections Pays close attention to linguistic form (among other principles)

3 Some characteristics of corpus research into metaphor Forces difficult decisions Static vs dynamic views of language Metaphors as part of resources of language

4 Problems of categorizing metaphors in corpus data Alice Deignan

5 Structure Methodology for studying metaphors in corpora; Research Questions Distinctions used in classifying corpus data Problems

6 Methodology Studying whole concordance, or large random sample, of all inflections of a lexeme Identifying literal and metaphorical senses Tracing semantic relationships between senses Examining linguistic, semantic and pragmatic features of both

7 Research questions Implications for metaphor theory of: grammatical behaviour of literal and non- literal uses collocational patterns semantic relations between literal and non-literal uses evaluative meaning of literal and non- literal uses….

8 Assumptions underlying this methodology Linguistic details are important; in themselves, and as realisations of cognitive processes Literal and non-literal meanings can be separated Metaphor is the dominant trope The word is a valid unit of analysis

9 Distinctions used in analysing metaphors using corpus data From applied linguistics: word/ collocation/ idiom From semantics: semantics/ pragmatics; denotation/ connotation From metaphor theory: metaphor/ metonymy/ literal use

10 Coherence of metaphorical mapping creating a more favourable and positive environment in which business can flourish. Though Ashoka’s empire fragmented politically after his death, the great flowering of Indian culture begun in his reign continued …Lincoln’s view that slavery would wither and die. Wild generosity often shrivels up in the cold wind of reality. The market wilted in line with softer overseas bonds.

11 A less clearcut case Fire/ fires/ fired/ firing 12088 citations in 59 million word general corpus. Around 16% non-literal.

12 Some non-literal uses of fire Add fuel to the fire Get on like a house on fire (be) fired up Fire from the hip Come under fire Get caught in cross-fire Fuel the fire

13 “The Achilles heel of quality: the assessment of student learning” Achilles heel: 41 citations in corpus, 2 of which literal 885 where heel clearly refers to part of a foot, hand, shoe or something shaped like a heel 3 which may be metaphorical, where heel refers to an unpleasant person

14 The remaining 473 citations of heel Hard on the heels of Well heeled Head over heels Hot on the heels of Achilles heel Turn on your heel Dig in your heels

15 More fixed expressions… Bring someone to heel Kick one’s heels Snap at someone’s heels Down at heel Drag one’s heels Cool one’s heels Kick up one’s heels Be under the heel of someone

16 Cline between literal and figurative meaning Literal …her fat insteps leaning over her down at heel shoes ??? Watch out for down at heel strangers who want to share a room Figurative (metaphor from metonymy) …a tale of love, laziness, lies and lobelia amongst the staff of a down at heel gardening magazine

17 Analysing fixed expressions in terms of CMs Heels: LIFE IS A JOURNEY?; DOWN IS BAD? The CM is very partial The CM has no predictive power in terms of linguistic realisation No account for the linguistic fixedness

18 Patterns.. The metaphor/ metonymy split may not fit natural language data; borderline uses predominate Figurative language is very frequently found in semi-fixed lexico-grammatical strings It is difficult in most cases to assign a specific sense- literal or figurative- to many lexico- grammatical strings

19 In other words.. A number of distinctions which we often try to make seem to break down: Word/ idiom Metaphor/ metonymy Literal/ non-literal Semantic/ pragmatic meaning But these expressions seem to be so common that they need to be placed at the centre of enquiry rather than seen as atypical, borderline cases.

20 Relevant work Moon 1998: discoursal and evaluative properties of fixed expressions and idioms; difficulty of distinguishing literal from non- literal uses Gibbs 1994, 1999: centrality of metonymy Goossens 1995: interactions between metaphor and metonymy Musolff 2004: metaphor scenarios

21 Kovecses, 2005. Metaphor in Culture: Universality and Variation. Cambridge University Press. P. 32 apparently irregular uses may eventually turn out to be systematic when found in large numbers in large corpora

22 Further research How frequent are such fixed figurative expressions, as percentages of concordances of a word? Do non-literal meanings tend to be carried in fixed expressions rather than in single words? Does metonymy generate multi-word expressions while metaphor generates single words? Are conventional linguistic metonyms more frequent than conventional linguistic metaphors?

23 Implications? If the answer to the first question is: ‘fixed figurative expressions are very frequent’, and the answers to the rest are ‘yes’, what are the implications for a theory of metaphor?

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