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Extended writing Framing Metaphor

Metaphors and freedom: On Tolkien’s notion of allegory vs applicability

On rereading Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, I was struck by this passage in his foreword to the second edition: I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability […]

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Extended writing Knowledge Linguistics Metaphor Scholarship

Anthropologists’ metaphorical shenanigans: Or how (not) to research metaphor

Over on the excellent ‘Genealogy of Religion’, Cris Campbell waved a friendly red rag in front of my eyes to make me incensed over exaggerated claims (some) anthropologists make about metaphors. I had expressed some doubts in previous comments but felt that perhaps this particular one deserves its own post. The book Cris refers to […]

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Blending Extended writing Framing Knowledge Metaphor Philosophy of Science

What is not a metaphor: Modelling the world through language, thought, science, or action

The role of metaphor in science debate (Background) Recently, the LSE podcast an interesting panel on the subject of “Metaphors and Science”. It featured three speakers talking about the interface between metaphor and various ‘scientific’ disciplines (economics, physics and surgery). Unlike many such occasions, all speakers were actually very knowledgeable and thoughtful on the subject. […]

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Extended writing Framing Linguistics

Binders full of women with mighty pens: What is metonymy

Metonymy in the wild Things were not going well for Mitt Romney in early autumn of last year. And then he responded to a query about gender equality with this sentence: “I had the chance to pull together a cabinet, and all the applicants seemed to be men… I went to a number of women’s […]

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Extended writing Framing Language Metaphor Philosophy of Science

Pervasiveness of Obliging Metaphors in Thought and Deed

“when history is at its most obliging, the history-writer needs be at his most wary.” (China by John Keay) I came across this nugget of wisdom when I was re-reading the Introduction to John Keay’s history of China. And it struck me that in some way this quote could be a part of the motto […]

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Extended writing Linguistics Metaphor

How we use metaphors

I was reminded by this blog post on LousyLinguist that many people still see metaphor as an unproblematic homogeneous concept leading to much circular thinking about them.  I wrote about that quite a few years ago in: Lukeš, D., 2005. Towards a classification of metaphor use in text: Issues in conceptual discourse analysis of a […]

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Extended writing Metaphor

Character Assasination through Metaphoric Pomposity: When one metaphor is not enough

George Lakoff is known for saying that “metaphors can kill” and he’s not wrong. But in that, metaphors are no different from any other language. The simple amoral imperative “Kill!” will do the job just as nicely. Nor are metaphors any better or worse at obfuscating than any other type of language. But they are […]

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Metaphor Scholarship

RaAM 9 Abstract: Of Doves and Cocks: Collective Negotiation of a Metaphoric Seduction

Given how long I’ve been studying metaphor (at least since 1991 when I first encountered Lakoff and Johnson’s work and full on since 2000) it is amazing that I have yet to attend a RaAM (Researching and Applying Metaphor) conference. I had an abstract accepted to one of the previous RaAMs but couldn’t go. This […]

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Blending Extended writing Framing Metaphor Poetry

Poetry without metaphor? Sure but can it darn your socks?

Over on the Language Log, Victor Mair puts to rest that all English expressions have to be tensed and thus prevent timeless poetry. He shares his translation of a 13th century Chinese poet thus: Autumn Thoughts by Ma Zhiyuan Withered wisteria, old tree, darkling crows – Little bridge over flowing water by someone’s house – Emaciated […]

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Extended writing Metaphor

Why don’t metaphorical hawks kill metaphorical doves?

A very common metaphor in the political discourse on war is that of doves (peaceniks) and hawks (war-mongers). It has been around at least since the cold war. But it stops at “doves=peaceful” and “hawks=aggressive”. It completely ignores other properties of the animals, e.g. the fact that “hawks hunt and kill doves”. I did a […]