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Charles Forceville: Researching multimodal metaphor in commercials and film

Date: 1 June 2010 Time: 1.00 - 2.00 pm

Venue: Institute for Advanced Studies Meeting Room 1

The Conceptual Metaphor Theory holds that metaphor is primarily a matter of thought, not of language (see Kövecses 2010). However, until recently, CMT almost exclusively focused on verbal expressions of conceptual metaphor. But in order to test claims about metaphor's pervasive role in cognition, it is necessary to extend research to non-verbal and multimodal specimens (Forceville & Urios-Aparisi 2009). In this paper I will outline what research questions in this young branch of metaphor studies await scholarly answers, drawing on two genres: commercials and fiction film. Issues include: what is the function of particular modes/modalities (visuals, language, sound, music) in the identification and interpretation of metaphors? Are modes equally distributed over a metaphor's topic and vehicle? How does genre awareness affect the processing of metaphors?

Systematically studying multimodal metaphor is a vast project that urgently requires work by linguists knowledgeable about audiovisual mass-culture, and by media students knowledgeable about linguistics, and will benefit the study of cognition and metaphor as well as advance the theorization of multimodal discourse.

Charles Forceville, Dept of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam


Forceville, Charles, and Eduardo Urios-Aparisi, eds (2009).Multimodal Metaphor.Berlin : Mouton de Gruyter.

Kövecses, Zoltán (2010).Metaphor: A Practical Introduction(revised edition). Oxford : Oxford University Press.

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Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Conceptual analysis, Literacies, Literacy, Multimodalities


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
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