Resemblance operations and conceptual complexity in animal metaphors


  • Aneider Iza Ervitia Universidad de La Rioja



Common animal terms, resemblance metaphor, ontological metaphor, metaphoric complex


For over thirty years cognitive linguists have devoted much effort to the study of metaphors based on the correlation of events in human experience to the detriment of the more traditional notion of resemblance metaphor, which exploits perceived similarities among objects. Grady (1999) draws attention to this problem and calls for a more serious study of the latter type of metaphor. The present paper takes up this challenge on the basis of a small corpus of ‘animal’ metaphors in English, which are essentially based on resemblance. Contrary to previous analyses by cognitive linguists (e.g. Lakoff & Turner 1989, Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, 1998), who claim that such metaphors are based on a single mapping generally involving comparable behavioral attributes, I will argue that we have a more complex situation which involves different patterns of conceptual interaction. In this respect, I have identified cases of (i) animal metaphors interacting with high-level (i.e. grammatical) metaphors and metonymies, of (ii) (situational) animal metaphors whose source domains are constructed metonymically (cf. Goossens 1990; Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez & Díez Velasco 2002), and of (iii) animal metaphors interacting with other metaphors thereby giving rise to metaphoric amalgams (cf. Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez & Galera Masegosa 2011).


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