Charles Forceville (1995). IBM IS A TUNING FORK: Degrees of freedom in the interpretation of pictorial metaphors.

“IBM IS A TUNING FORK: Degrees of freedom in the interpretation of pictorial metaphors.” Poet­ics 23: 189-218.

Abstract: The article reports the results of a highly explora­tory ex­periment pertaining to the identification and interpre­tation of what are claimed to be (verbo)pictorial metaphors in three IBM bill­board advertisements. The experiment makes use of a design developed by Mick & Politi (1989) and relies on the metaphor theory of Black (1962, 1979) and its adaptation to pictures in Forceville (1991, 1994a, 1994b). The ex­peri­ment tests (1) whether the par­ti­cipants in the experi­ment (acade­mics working in the field of language or literature) identify the metaphors as such, with­out explicitly having been fore­warned to look for metaphors; (2) to what extent the parti­cipants agree in their interpretations of these professed meta­phors. Moreover the data provide insight into what associ­ations the billboards evoke in participants besides those the partici­pants think the adver­tisers intended them to have. The ex­peri­ment makes use of existing billboards (i.e., “real-world texts” – see Kreuz & Roberts 1993: 152) and focuses on qual­itative rather than quantitative results.

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