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A corpus-based study of metaphors for speech activity in British English

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Published
Publication date22/08/2008
Host publicationCorpus-Based Approaches to Metaphor and Metonymy
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Pages36-62
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9783110199895
ISBN (Print)9783110198270
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In this paper I present the findings of a corpus-based study of metaphorical expressions used to refer to verbal activity in written British English narratives. The corpus contains a quarter-of-a-million words of fictional and non-fictional written narratives, and was annotated for speech, thought and writing presentation categories at Lancaster University. The availability of the annotated corpus makes it possible to concordance different categories of speech, thought or writing presentation, and therefore easily provides more, and more varied, representative examples of the relevant phenomena than have been available to scholars so far. This paper focuses particularly on the category known as Narrator's Representation of Speech Acts (NRSA) (e.g. Traditionalists have accused the authors of heresy... and He blasted critics in his party who want him to buy victory...). I provide the relative proportions of literal and metaphorical NRSAs in the corpus as a whole and in each of its main sections. I then present a provisional categorization of the metaphorical examples on the basis of the relevant source domains, and discuss the implications of my findings for existing accounts of metaphors for communication in English. I finish by showing how most of the metaphorical NRSAs in the corpus can be explained in terms of a coherent scenario whereby verbal communication is conventionally constructed in terms of actions and positions within a physical, concrete scenario.