Plenary Speakers and Pre-Conference Workshops

The confirmed plenary speakers are:

There will be two pre-conference workshops on:

  • Corpus linguistics methods in metaphor analysis - facilitated by Anatol Stefanowitsch (Free University Berlin, Germany)
  • Methods of researching metaphor and gesture - facilitated by Irene Mittelberg (RWTH Aachen University, Germany) and Cornelia Müller (European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany).


Plenary Speakers

Albert Katz: Obligatory, optional and social functions of metaphor

Over 35 years ago, Andrew Ortony wrote a paper entitled "Why metaphors are necessary and not just nice". Much has happened in the decades since that paper was published: Lakoff and Johnson, published the initial manifesto on conceptual metaphor, Ray Gibbs took the cognitive wager to experimentally understand the cognitive basis of non-literal language usage, on-line methodology has become the norm for many and others such as Sam Glucksberg, Rachel Giora, Deidre Gentner have provided explanations for the arousal and mapping of metaphoric expressions.

In my talk, accepting Gibbs' cognitive wager, I will provide a heuristic overview of the multifaceted approaches to the experimental study of metaphor, pointing out lacuna in the experimental literature and possible avenues for future research. A special emphasis will be placed on questioning (1) whether certain constructs, such as conceptual metaphor, are psychologically primary, (2) what are the social roles played by metaphor and (3) the type of cognitive science model one would need to explain extant data.

Andreas Musolff - What have Cognitive Metaphor Studies done for CDA (and vice versa)?

The application of cognitively oriented metaphor analysis to the critical study of public discourse has generated a wealth of publications over the past decades. This paper attempts to take stock of some of these developments and reflect on their contribution to methodological and theoretical advances in metaphor research. In particular, it queries the relationship of theoretical claims and empirical findings with regard to variation in metaphor use and its significance for semantic change. As an illustrative example I will present data on the repeated metaphorisation of the concept PARASITE, which challenge some established assumptions about the development of metaphors in conceptual and discourse history. In conclusion, an alternative model of an integrated cognitive/discourse-historical approach to the study of metaphor will be proposed.

Masako K. Hiraga - The sound of silence: The interplay of metaphor and iconicity in haiku texts

In literary texts, the interplay between metaphor and iconicity tends to manifest itself in such a way as metaphorical reading of the text revealing the iconic interpretation of the structure of the text. The present study extends the analysis, from single texts to interrelated texts, in order to examine whether the similar metaphorical reading leads to the similar iconic interpretation across the texts.

As an illustrative case of such inquiry, this talk uses the following haiku texts by Bashō Matsuo. The choice of the texts was based on the three factors: (i) that they both display similar semantic elements, which constitute a global metaphor of THE SOUND OF SILENCE; (ii) that the well-documented revisions of the texts are available; and (iii) that they are said to be the most famous and the most beloved haiku among Japanese readers.

(1) furuike ya / kawazu tobikomu / mizu no oto
‘time-worn pond - ah! / a frog jumps in / water’s sound’
(2)shizukasa ya / iwa ni shimiiru / semi no koe
‘stillness - ah! / seeps into rocks / cicada’s voice’ 

After giving a brief explanation of the texts, the detailed analysis presents: (i) how the global metaphor of SILENCE IS SOUND connects the two texts, and (ii) how this metaphor navigates iconic interpretations in the revising process, grammatical and phonological structures across the texts. In my analysis, I hope to illustrate that metaphor and iconicity could be treated as an entwined process across multiple texts, and that this type of approach could provide a new interpretation and explication of the interrelated haiku in question.


Pre-Conference Workshops

Corpus linguistics methods in metaphor analysis

Facilitated by Anatol Stefanowitsch (Free University Berlin, Germany)

For technical and methodological reasons, the orthographic word plays a central role in corpus linguistics: Corpora are accessed and data are retrieved and sorted via word forms. As a consequence, corpus-based studies frequently take the word as a focal point around which analyses are built. At first glance, this does not make corpus linguistics an ideal research tool for the investigation of metaphor, as metaphorical mappings cannot be uniquely identified by particular words or formal properties.

The goal of this workshop is to show how analyses of metaphorical language can be constructed on corpus-linguistic data despite this fundamental problem.

The session will begin with a brief overview of traditional analyses of linguistic and conceptual metaphors, which are typically built on constructed examples and/or manually collected citations. Two ways of analysing metaphor based on concordances of individual lexical items will then be introduced and participants will be given a chance to try these methods hands-on.

After a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of these methods, I will provide a summary and point to some more complex implementations of the basic methods in the research literature.

Methods of researching metaphor and gesture

Facilitated by Irene Mittelberg (RWTH Aachen University) and Cornelia Müller (European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder).

This workshop focuses on linguistic and semiotic analyses of metaphor and metonymy in spontaneous coverbal gestures. While, when listening to talks on metaphoric gestures and seeing examples, it may seem quite obvious that hand configurations and movements may depict certain aspects of the source domain of a metaphor, such insights tend to create challenges for the analyst in the process of identifying, describing, and reconstructing the meaning of gestures employed in naturalistic discourse.

The session will begin with a brief review of the multimodal approach to metaphor and metonymy we are taking here. We will then provide an introduction to Methods of Gesture Analysis (MGA), moving from formal features to semantic processes. Participants will do hands-on analyses of additional examples representing different discourse genres. Video sequences to work on will be provided, but anyone who wishes to bring in sequences of his or her own data is welcome to do so (please contact the workshop leaders in advance:, The workshop concludes with a summary of the analytic steps and perspectives applied in reconstructing the meaning of metaphorically and metonymically motivated gestures. The goal is to get a sense of what aspects of such dynamic instances of multimodal communication we are able to account for and what aspects pose difficulties in view of theoretical interests, empirical methods, and other forms of multimodality.