Contexts of Metaphor by Michiel Leezenberg

By Michiel Leezenberg

This examine provides an method of metaphor that systematically takes contextual components under consideration. It analyses how metaphors either depend upon, and alter, the context within which they're uttered, and particularly, how metaphorical interpretation comprises the articulation of asserted, implied and presupposed fabric. It supplementations this semantic research with a practice-based account of metaphor on the conceptual point, which stresses the position of sociocultural components in notion formation.

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In the absence of such strict and decontextualized categorial boundaries, the notion of a 'categorial mistake' that many authors see as a prerequisite for metaphorical languagedoes not make much sense. In other words, nonliterate individuals would hardly consider a particular contextually appropriate - utterance like "we are parrots" as figurative or otherwise odd at all. It would be good to see if such broad claims are corroborated by ethnographic findings. Fortunately, there have been several empirical investigations along the lines of Vygotsky's and Goody's work.

1 Literacy and Metaphor What does the above imply for the status of metaphor in nonliterate societies? For as far as I am aware, this question has not been investigated empirically, but some tentative hypotheses may be formulated. Given the findings discussed above, one may assume that - in nonliterate societies at least - literal meanings, abstract categories and conceptual domains play a less prominent role than they are assigned in most modern theories of metaphor. , all of which emerge at a relatively late stage in concept formation only.

Luria 1976: 85-6). So Scribner & Cole's findings moderate Luria's to some extent, but they are not completely at odds with them. Specifically, they do not run counter to the suggestion made above that mundane concepts of nonliterates, and to a lesser extent those of literates, are to be seen as complexes rather than as 'scientific concepts' (that is, as organized in terms of abstract features and rigid boundaries). Pre- and Protohistory 25 In the light of these findings, Scribner & Cole prefer to see literacy not as an ability but as a practice, that is, a 'recurrent, goal-directed sequence of activities using a particular technology and particular systems of knowledge' (1981: 237).

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