Metaphor in idiom comprehension

Gibbs, R.W., Bogdanovich, J.M., Sykes, J.R. and Barr, D.J. (1997) Metaphor in idiom comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 37(2), pp. 141-154. (doi:10.1006/jmla.1996.2506)

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Abstract

Psycholinguistic research has shown that people's tacit knowledge of conceptual metaphors, such as ANGER IS HEATED FLUID IN A CONTAINER, partly motivates how they make sense of idiomatic phrases likeblow your stackandflip your lid.But do people quickly access conceptual metaphors each time an idiom is encountered in discourse? The present studies used a priming method to examine the role of conceptual metaphors in immediate idiom comprehension. Experiment 1 showed that people access conceptual metaphors when understanding idioms, but significantly less so when processing literal paraphrases of idioms. Experiment 2 demonstrated that people access the appropriate conceptual metaphors, such as ANGER IS HEAT, when processing some idioms, such asblow your stack,but not when they read idioms, such asjump down your throat,which have similar figurative meanings that are motivated by different conceptual metaphors (e.g., ANGER IS ANIMAL BEHAVIOR). The findings from these studies provide important evidence on the constraining role that common patterns of metaphoric thought have in figurative language understanding.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:cognitive_science
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barr, Dr Dale
Authors: Gibbs, R.W., Bogdanovich, J.M., Sykes, J.R., and Barr, D.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Journal of Memory and Language
ISSN:0749-596X
ISSN (Online):1096-0821

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