Reviewed by Zhen-qiang Fan, Zhejiang Gongshang University
This book includes articles presented at the Second International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association held in October, 2006, with some articles later solicited. Drawing on three key theories in cognitive semantics—conceptual metaphor theory, conceptual metonymy theory, and conceptual blending theory—the articles in this book address the dialectical relationship between language and cognition. That is, the former can serve as a window to the latter while the latter can explain the structure and use of the former.
This book begins with an introduction, followed by three parts (‘Metaphor and metonymy: Fundamental issues’, ‘Metaphor and metonymy: Usage-based investigations’, and ‘Conceptual Blending’), each containing four articles, and ends with an index. In their introduction, Sandra Handl and Hans-Jörg Schmid introduce some essential background knowledge of metaphor, metonymy, and conceptual blending, and offer a preview of the articles in the volume.
Part 1 begins with an article by Zoltán Kövecses, in which he defends conceptual metaphor theory by meeting three challenges pertaining to methodological issues. He suggests that different approaches should complement each other and neither one alone can solve such complex phenomenon as metaphor. Dmitrij Dobrovol’skij examines the semantic analyzability of idioms and their discursive behavior, demonstrating how cognitive studies can contribute to description of the semantics and syntax of idioms. Aivars Glaznieks’ experiment shows that, contrary to what cognitive linguistics would predict, participants show little reliance on source domains in the acquisition and comprehension of metaphors. With a corpus study, Sandra Handl complements ontology-based theories by incorporating attribute salience to account for the conventionality of metonymy.
Based on naturally occurring data in corpora, the articles in Part 2 investigate metaphors used in specific discourses or language structure. Brigitte Nerlich scrutinizes metaphor scenarios in print media in the United Kingdom and illustrates their effectiveness for strategic purposes in disease management discourses. Monica Petrica presents a close comparison of Maltese and German discourse in the European Union, stressing the important role of culture in discursive metaphors. Focusing on United States presidential speeches, Kathleen Ahrens puts forward a method for identifying and testing metaphorical cognitive models through an analysis of lexical frequency patterns in small well-defined corpora. Beate Hampe explains causative resultatives with reference to metaphor and construction grammar.
The first article in Part 3 of the book, by Hans-Jörg Schmid, tests the predictions made by conceptual blending theory concerning the understanding of novel compounds. It argues for utilizing a simplified version of optimal relevance from cognitive pragmatics to refine the relevance principle, which is unspecified in Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner’s model. Through an in-depth analysis of ‘sandwich generation’ and ‘flame sandwich’, Réka Benczes demonstrates the advantage and suitability of blending theory for the analysis of metaphorical compounds. Explanatory power can also be seen in Elena Tribushinina’s article: she accounts for noun modification by predicting adjectives. Finally, Siaohui Kok and Wolfram Bublitz employ conceptual blending theory to explain the pragmatic notions of evaluation/stance and common ground, demonstrating the cross-fertilization of cognitive linguistics and pragmatics.