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Unformatted text preview: mbodied cognition. Conceptual metaphor and its implications for discourse 19 Having made this reservation Murphy turns to discussing the arguments
Gibbs employs to support the conceptual metaphor claim. First, he turns to
the polysemy argument. He highlights the fact that cognitivists in their
metaphor-based descriptions of various linguistic phenomena do not devote
much space to possible, alternative, literal explanations of these phenomena. In addition, he maintains that “I find Sweetser’s explanation of
polysemy completely in keeping with a notion of how literally similar
meanings might become encompassed by the same word over time. That is,
her analysis of polysemy seems quite plausible to me – I simply do not find
anything metaphoric about it” (Murphy 1997: 100). Here he touches upon
one more important issue, i.e. the use of the term metaphor as employed by
Lakoff and his followers. Sweetser’s use seems to coincide with that of
Ullman (1962), Lyons (1977) or Geeraerts (1997), who all agreed that
polysemy may result from metaphoric extensions of word meanings. Geeraerts introduces the notion of the redefinition of the prototypical meaning
focus as a result of such diachronic change. Murphy’s most important reservation seems to be that, from an experimental psychologist’s point of
view, CMT has not clearly described the repres-entation of metaphorical
concepts and should therefore not make such detailed claims about cognition as it does. This appears to be a perennial problem for studies which encroach on both linguistic and psychological territory: that is although both
disciplines may ask similar questions and sometimes even use the same
terms, the meaning of these terms, as well as what is regarded as a valid answer to the questions, may differ significantly.
2.2. Further development of CMT
Lakoff – Johnson (1999) recount research by Christopher Johnson (1999),
Grady (1997) and Narayanan (1997), as possible evidence for CMT.
Christopher Johnson investigated the acquisition of metaphor in L1. He
analysed the language development corpus of Shem7 (MacWhinney 1995)
and put forward a hypothesis that children go through a conflation period,
when certain domains are conflated, as in “Let’s see what’s in the box”,
when seeing is knowing what’s in the box (SEEING and KNOWING are con7 The corpus of speech development of a child, Shem, was compiled by Clark (1978). Chapter I 20 flated). Only later do these two domains differentiate, but the connections
established in early childhood between the sensory domain of seeing and
what later becomes the abstract domain of knowing are already there and
facilitate further metaphoric mappings.
Grady developed Christopher Johnson’s ideas proposing a Theory
of Primary Metaphors, which claims that the conflation period identified
by the latter gives rise to a set of primary metaphors (e.g. KNOWING IS SEE8
ING) which become atomic elements of more complex, future blends.
Narayanan’s research contributed to the Neural Theory o...
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