The cohesive role of cognitive metaphor in discourse and conversation

Publication Type  Book Chapter
Year of Publication  2000
Authors  Ponterotto, Dianne
Key Words  metaphor; cognitive discourse study; cohesion; information management; knowledge integration; role of conceptual metaphor; role of memory
Abstract  Diane Ponterotto claims that metaphor has a central role in the structuring of conversation and proposes to regard conceptual metaphor as a fundamental part of cognitive theories of discourse. The model of discourse analysis used by the author (the "blueprint" model proposed by Tomlin et al.), requires that the interlocutors achieve "knowledge integration" and "information management" if the conversation is to be successful. Ponterotto claims that metaphor is the conceptual device that guarantees the satisfaction of this requirement. Then she briefly discusses the complexity of the factors intervening in the coherence underlying the apparent formlessness of a conversation and emphasizes the role of memory and storage in our ability to hold a conversation. She claims that metaphor also facilitates the storage and retrieval of information. Her two brief case studies - one on the script of a film scene and another on a recorded authentic conversation - show that a major metaphor normally provides the heuristic frame, as she calls it, for the rest of the conversation, which then calls up a complex web of thematically related conceptual metaphors that are used to explore and elaborate the major theme in the conversation. Metaphor networks often constitute the backbone of conversation and give it cohesion.(Antonio Barcelona)
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