Plenary Speakers

Zoltán Kövecses

Zoltán Kövecses is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of American Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. He is currently working on the language and conceptualisation of emotions, cross-cultural variation in metaphor, and the issue of the relationship between language, mind, and culture from a cognitive linguistic perspective. He will deliver a plenary on aspects of metaphor theory.
Some Extensions of Conceptual Metaphor Theory
In recent years, I suggested some extensions of conceptual metaphor theory in order to remedy certain gaps in the theory (Kövecses, 2015, 2017). Two of them stand out in importance. One concerns the introduction of “contextual factors” in the production of metaphorical expressions in real discourse situations. I propose that the contextual factors can be grouped into four large categories, or types, of context: situational, discourse, conceptual-cognitive, and bodily context. The other modification has to do with the hierarchical nature of conceptual metaphors. I argue that we need to distinguish at least four different levels of schematicity in conceptual metaphor: metaphors at the level of image schemas, domains, frames, and mental spaces (over and above the level of metaphorical utterances in discourse). I conceive of the modified version of CMT as a contextualist and multi-level view of conceptual metaphors. In the talk, first, I introduce the two theoretical modifications in some detail. Second, I show some of the advantages of the modifications; for example, in the way we can handle more fully the issue of metaphorical creativity in CMT and how we approach certain methodological issues in CMT. Third, I present a detailed analysis of a metaphorical example to demonstrate the power of the suggested modifications.

Kövecses, Zoltán. 2015. Where metaphors come from. Reconsidering context in metaphor. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kövecses, Zoltán. 2017. Levels of metaphor. Cognitive Linguistics. 28-2, 321-347.

Raymond Gibbs Jr.

Raymond Gibbs Jr. is Professor in the Psychology Department, University of California, Santa Cruz. His research interests are in the fields of experimental psycholinguistics and cognitive science, ranging from questions about the role of embodied experience in thought and language, to looking at people's use and understanding of figurative language. His plenary will address methodological concerns in metaphor research.
A Little Taste of Heaven: Metaphor in Bodily Experience
A common belief in metaphor scholarship is that many metaphorical concepts and verbal metaphors express mappings of bodily-based source domains onto a usually, but not always, more abstract target domains. A classic instance of this is seen in the conceptual metaphor LIFE IS A JOURNEY where our bodily, image-schematic knowledge of JOURNEY is mapped onto the target domain of LIFE, a process that gives rise to various metaphorical meanings or entailments regarding our understanding of LIFE. A key assumption of this view is that source domains are, once again, often embodied and that metaphor arises only via the mapping process. My aim in this talk is to explore the possibility that many source domains arising from bodily experience may themselves be inherently metaphorical. I will present a variety of examples from bodily experience which are likely understood in symbolic and metaphorical terms. Following this, I shall discuss some of the methodological challenges associated with further empirical study of the “metaphorical source domain” hypothesis and conclude by talking about the significant implications of this claim for contemporary theories of metaphorical thought, language, and expressive action.

Elena Semino

Elena Semino is Professor and Head of the Linguistics & English Language Department at Lancaster University. Her research interests include stylistics, metaphor theory and analysis, and the medical humanities/health communication. She will discuss in her plenary the applicational aspects of metaphor research.
Applying Metaphor in Healthcare
In this talk I discuss the ‘real-world’ applications of research on metaphor by presenting three collaborative projects that are directly relevant to issues in healthcare: a study of the effects of the use of visual metaphors in clinical consultations about chronic pain1; an analysis of the metaphors used by people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia to describe their experiences of hallucinatory voices2; and a corpus-based study of metaphors used by people with cancer to talk about their illness3. The three projects are currently at different stages of completion, but all three involve interdisciplinary research teams and interactions with clinical practitioners. In all three cases, the insights provided by systematic metaphor analysis have been used to raise awareness of the implications of metaphor use in healthcare settings and/or in the media, especially for the empowerment or disempowerment of people who are ill. In addition, in all three cases the metaphor analysis has led to a better understanding of the lived experience of patients, and has practical implications for better interventions and support. I will discuss particularly the ‘Metaphor Menu for people with cancer’, which is currently being piloted as a patient resource in a hospital in the North West of England. I will also reflect on the inevitable challenges, potential pitfalls and huge rewards of this kind of work, both from a professional and personal point of view.

1. 'Pain: Speaking the threshold', Slade School of Art, London.
2. 'Power, control and the language of voice-hearing', University College London.
3. 'Metaphor in end-of-life care', Lancaster University.

I-Wen Su

I-Wen Su is Professor in the Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Taiwan University. Her research areas include discourse analysis, pragmatics, and cognitive linguistics. She is particularly interested in the pragmatic account of language use, taking into consideration the importance of context and human cognition. Her talk will highlight Asian contexts of metaphor research.
How Can Metaphor Studies Be Applied Beyond Linguistics?
Does language have an impact on how people think and perceive the world? Do all people think the same way and just talk about it differently? These are the key questions asked by linguists as well as by scholars in philosophy, cognitive science and other fields. The simple fact that one may express or comprehend abstract concepts by way of habitual thinking makes it possible to believe that “Language reveals how people think.” Some in linguistics have tried to explore the answers to these questions via Conceptual Metaphor Theory, whose basic tenet allows one to grasp the abstract from the concrete in different domains via conceptual mappings.

Adopting a usage-based language approach, the present talk highlights the multi-faceted functions of metaphor. Studies will discuss how metaphor plays a role in everyday conversation (e.g. conditionals), how it helps one to better communicate in specific settings (e.g. expressing pain-related concepts), how it enables multimodal interpretation (e.g. in music and painting), and how it facilitates cultural understanding (e.g. in conceptualizing time and proverbs).

Studies included in this talk will necessarily go beyond the traditional scope of linguistics proper to welcome an interdisciplinary perspective. It is hoped that this effort will aid researchers from other fields to better understand linguistic research on metaphor and value its contribution.