Assessing Claims of Metaphorical Salience Through Corpus Data


In the linguistic domain, conceptual metaphors have been shown to structure grammar, the lexicon, and abstract reasoning. Much recent research on conceptual metaphor comes from corpus examination, which is increasingly focused on developing quantificational tools to reveal co-occurrence patterns indicative of source and target domain associations. Some mappings between source and target are transparent. However, other metaphors, especially those that structure abstract processes, are more complex because the target domain is lexically divorced from the source. This study introduces new techniques directed at the quantitative evaluation of metaphorical salience when target and source relationships are nonobvious. Constellations of source-domain triggers are identified in the data and shown to disproportionately emerge in topic specific discourse. This measurement can be taken as one indicator of conceptual salience among the target speech community.

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