Forceville, Charles (2009). “Metonymy in visual and audiovisual discourse.”

“Metonymy in visual and audiovisual discourse.” In: Eija Ventola and Arsenio Jésus Moya Guijarro (eds), The World Told and the World Shown: Issues in Multisemiotics, 56-74. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Abstract: In this chapter I propose to discuss pictorial and multimodal equivalents of what in Cognitive Linguistics (CL) is called ‘metonymy’. CL has long focused almost exclusively on metaphor, which is defined as ‘understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another’ (Lakoff and Johnson 1980, p. 5). According to CL, metaphor is central to cognition, since human beings are claimed systematically to understand abstract concepts in terms of concrete phenomena. However, in the past decade, metonymy has gradually begun to attract sustained attention as no less crucial in ruling human cognition. As in metaphor research, the predominant focus in recent studies on metonymy (Barcelona, 2000; Dirven and Pörings, 2002) is on linguistic manifestations of this trope alone. However, it is important that claims about human thinking are not exclusively made on the basis of verbal expressions of tropes. The analyses offered in this chapter will both help evaluate CL claims about metonymy and provide insights into regularities of multimodal discourse. The chapter is organized in the following way. I will first outline CL views on metonymy in Section 2. Then I will discuss salient phenomena in terms of metonymy in two advertising campaigns and two feature films in Sections 3 and 4. After the discussion presented in Section 5, I end by making some general claims about the use and functions of metonymy in multimodal discourse.

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