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Metaphor and Symbol

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Metaphor, Discourse analysis, Metaphor -- Analysis


This essay compares simulation-based accounts of metaphor processing recently proposed by Gibbs (2006a) and Ritchie (2006), using examples of metaphors based on the metaphor vehicle "journey" from four different texts. From analysis of these different examples, it is concluded that simulation may come into play at different levels, depending on the metaphor and the context in which it is used. Further, it is suggested that the imaginative simulation of the object or action named by a metaphor vehicle, proposed by Gibbs, incorporates a partial subset of detail-level perceptual simulators. This leads to the proposal that the two models describe cognitive processes that operate at different levels or stages in the metaphor interpretation process, and that they might usefully be merged into a single more comprehensive model of embodied metaphor interpretation. The more comprehensive model provides a richer theoretical context for understanding how reuse and modification of a particular metaphor (Cameron, 2007) as well as the use of apparently different metaphors that activate similar simulations can influence comprehension, and how skilled orators can use these effects to accomplish complex communicative objectives (e.g., Blair, 2005; Obst, 2003).


This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Metaphor and Symbol, Vol. 23, Issue 3, 2008, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://



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