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Metaphor and Symbol

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Discourse analysis, Metaphor -- Research, Metaphor in literature


Recent work has shown that many problematic aspects of metaphor use and comprehension can be resolved through an account that includes both relevance and perceptual simulation. It has also been shown that metaphors often imply stories, and that stories are often metaphorical. Previous research on narratives has focused primarily on stories that appear either in formal literature or in structured interviews; this essay focuses on stories that occur as an integral part of conversation. It extends recent work on metaphor comprehension to show how use and comprehension of stories in natural, informal conversations can be usefully analyzed in terms of perceptual simulations. Conversely, it extends previous work on storytelling to reveal the metaphorical element in many stories, and to emphasize the social (bonding through shared enjoyment) as well as informative and persuasive functions of storytelling.


This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Metaphor and Symbol, Vol. 25, Issue 3, 2010, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:



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