This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: NGIBLE/
HARD IS INFLEXIBLE. The less-frequent-words list did not give rise to a new set of metaphors common in business journalism, of course, but only gave
an indirect evidence supporting the more frequent list findings. For example, a relatively rare use of past forms such as was and did Partington puts
down to the fact that business seems to be more interested in the future than
in the past. In combination with the high frequency of words such as beliefs, forecast, fear(s), confidence, outlook, doubt(s), expectations, speculation, apprehension(s), estimates, likely it may be evidence for the BUSINESS
IS FORECASTING or GUESSING metaphor. His investigations lead Partington
(1998: 118) to conclude that only a part of the possible vocabulary set of
the vehicle of the metaphor is used to describe the topic.
For example, currency can be weak, but by no means can it be ill.
This is akin to what Goatly (1997) pointed out in his study of root metaphors.
At the end of the chapter devoted to corpus-driven metaphor research, Partington (1998: 119) comes to a conclusion, which may seem
devastating to the Conceptual Metaphor Theory:
The truth is, of course, that such metaphors have become genre-specific
technical language. They have no figurative content, and to all intents and
purposes are no longer metaphors at all. It might be possible to posit a
general rule of metaphor, which states that “a metaphor ceases to be a
metaphor when it has no simple literal alternative, or when a metaphor is
much more common than its literal alternative in its genre”. On the other hand, this is not a data-driven conclusion, but rather a statement of conviction particular to the author. It seems that his view of
metaphor is more related to pragmatic theory, which sees metaphor as a
clash between the literal meaning of the context and figurative meaning of
the words used in a metaphor. These reservations about dead metaphors
have already appeared in Black (1991, see Chapter One, Section 2.6.) and
in Moon (1998) presented above. 8 This proliferation of metaphors requires certain caution as to the cognitive status of
these metaphors. Partington, however, carefully distances himself from this conundrum.
He stresses that metaphors definitely pervade language, but whether they pervade
thought is something that cannot be established on the basis of corpus-based research. 62 Chapter II Deignan (1999) identifies similar problems in metaphor corpusdriven research as I have mentioned above (Fabiszak – Kaszubski 2005 and
2006). She also notices other limitations of the corpus driven approach:
… it is not always easy to make decisions on meaning division, and (…) it
can often be difficult to decide which citations of some words are metaphorical; this decision will depend on the definition of metaphor used.
… The researcher uses informed intuition to decide whether a particular
citation of a word is metaphorical, within his or her own definition of
metaphor. Intuition is also needed to decide whether a linguistic metaphor
is a realisation of a particular conceptual metaphor. Further, the computer
cannot tell the researcher which word forms to study...
View Full Document