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Metaphor and Symbol

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Metaphor, Ambiguity, Language and communication, Cognition and language


In an extension and partial reformulation of Conceptual Metaphor Theory (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), Ritchie (2003, 2004, 2006) proposed that the linguistic expressions cited as evidence of complex conceptual metaphors can be parsimoniously interpreted in terms of perceptual simulators (Barsalou, 1999), often within extended fields of meaning, which may be but are not necessarily anchored in underlying conceptual metaphors. Cameron (2003, 2007) added substance and precision to the focal concept of communicative context, and showed how metaphors can be analyzed both as part of an overall pattern of figurative language in a communicative event. In this essay a series of metaphors in Tony Blair's speech to the 2005 Gateshead Conference of the Labour Party is analyzed to illustrate how perceptual simulators and fields of meaning can be used to identify nuances of thought and feeling potentially activated by metaphors in a particular communicative context and how the patterns of perceptual simulators and fields of meaning can contribute to our understanding of a particular communicative event.


This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Metaphor and Symbol, Vol. 23, Issue 1, 2007, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:



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