Schematization of a research article on discourse metaphors
I am learning about various research methods and so I am reading articles to figure out their basic approach to research. Here is an article that I have recently read and that I feel embodies a good research design. Many people say that Cognitive Linguistics has a deficiency in text-based scholarship, this is a good example of a project that embraces text (original texts and transcripts of speeches – so, transcript as artifact/object of study)…enjoy!
Review of: Zinken, J. ‘Discourse metaphors: The link between figurative language and habitual analogies’ in Cognitive Linguistics 18(3) 2007, pp 445-466
This article introduces discourse metaphors as a link between language use and habitual analogical schemas to show that metaphors do not exist only at the superordinate level of categorization (as Conceptual Metaphor Theory suggests), but that they also exhibit systematically consistent (form-specific) figurative mappings at other levels. In other words, lexical items within a superordinate level also have distinct patterns for figurative use; Zinken terms these discourse metaphors.
Zinken introduces existing research about the structure of analogies to validate his focus on this topic and uses this background to illustrate an unanswered problem; that the nature of the relationship between use and schema is still unclear, especially at lower levels of categorization. The article proceeds to introduce a range of ideas about how research might approach analogy to clarify the use-schema relationship. Having justified his topic, Zinken presents his hypothesis (one of the ideas he introduced earlier), that metaphors are form-specific (e.g., fixed lexical items consistently map to fixed figurative usages).
First, Zinken looked through data (6 contiguous months of newspaper articles and political speeches from the Wende-corpus) to find patterns of interest (8,000 nominal active metaphors), and then limited the set by focusing on four particular vehicles (Building, Container, Path, and Transport). At this point he designated category levels (superordinate, basic, subordinate) to each instance (lexical item) of the vehicle (the analogical schema) so that the lexical items could be compared appropriately. This increased narrowing of focus left 36 particular lexical items in 266 instances of metaphorical usage with a wide range of frequency of occurrence as well as discourse scope. As a data assurance method, two coders individually categorized the 36 lexical items and their designations were compared against a third coder’s judgments to resolve disputed categorizations.
This categorization process was needed in order to determine whether or not the members of superordinate categories exhibited homogeneity of metaphorical function so that a pairing could be made between certain lexical items and the range of functions which those lexical items could represent.
Zinken discusses four selected vehicle pairs (path-course; bastion-fortress; kettle-pot; and boat-ship) which overlap in conventional use and demonstrates how he determined whether or not they also overlapped in metaphorical(figurative) functions. He proceeds in this comparison by consulting lexicons and dictionaries for the conventional external use of the isolated metaphorical lexical item and then posits whether or not the pair only overlap conventionally or also metaphorically.
From his analysis of the four selected pairs (without any occurrence of counterevidence), Zinken determines that while the pairs overlap in their conventional usage, they do not overlap in their figurative usage. Further, they exhibit different usages systematically in the selected portion of the corpus. At this point Zinken compares his findings with previous work in verbal behavior and habitual analogies. He demonstrates that previous assertions of mappings cannot be determined from verbal behavior data, and concludes that discourse metaphors fill a gap in the methodological need for a mechanism that accounts for the link between analogical schemas and verbal behavior.
Zinken, J. ‘Discourse metaphors: The link between figurative language and habitual analogies’ in Cognitive Linguistics 18(3) 2007, pp 445-466
NB: I worked from the copy in the journal Cognitive Linguistics, but if you do not have access to the journal, you can navigate to a different copy of the article here: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.109.3921