Charles Forceville (1995). “(A)symmetry in metaphor: the importance of extended context.”

“(A)symmetry in metaphor: the importance of extended context.” Poetics Today, 16: 677-708.

Abstract: A crucial aspect of the investigation of any metaphor is the assess­ment which of its two terms is the tenor and which the vehicle. This issue is less uncontrover­sial than is often thought. The present paper dis­cusses three related aspects of the matter. In the first place, Black’s (1962, 1979) inter­action theory is shown not to support the bidirect­ionality of feature trans­fer or even the reversibil­ity of terms, as is sometimes claimed (e.g., by Haus­man 1989 and Lakoff & Turner 1989). Secondly, three experimental studies analyzing what prin­ciples guide the dis­tribu­tion of tenor and vehicle (Malgady & John­son 1980; Verbrugge 1980; and Connor & Kogan 1980) are criticized for ignoring con­text-levels beyond the sen­tence. Thirdly, whereas the overall stance taken in this paper is that the projection of features in a metaphor is only from vehicle upon tenor, and not vice versa, there appear to be except­ions to this prin­ciple. Four examples are dis­cussed in some detail and an attempt is made to account for them.

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