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Methodological problems in the analysis of a corpus of conversations about cancer.

Semino, Elena and Heywood, J. and Short, M. H. (2004) Methodological problems in the analysis of a corpus of conversations about cancer. Journal of Pragmatics, 36 (7). pp. 1271-1294. ISSN 0378-2166

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Abstract

In this paper, we discuss a number of methodological problems we have encountered in identifying and analysing metaphors in a corpus of conversations about cancer. These problems relate particularly to: (i) the boundary between the literal and the metaphorical in the identification of linguistic metaphors; (ii) the precise identification of tenor and vehicle in relation to each linguistic metaphor; (iii) the extrapolation of conceptual metaphors from linguistic metaphors; and (iv) the extrapolation of conventional metaphors from patterns in the data. We begin with a discussion of the way in which metaphors are commonly analysed within the cognitive paradigm, and introduce in detail Steen’s [From linguistic to conceptual metaphor in five steps. In: Gibbs, R., Steen, G. (Eds.), Metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, p. 57, 1999] proposal for an explicit and rigorous procedure for metaphor analysis. We then present a range of examples from our corpus that pose problems at different points in Steen’s procedure, and demonstrate how different decisions in the process of analysis lead to dramatically different conclusions as to the way in which cancer appears to be metaphorically constructed in our data. In light of our discussion, we propose some adjustments to Steen’s procedure and highlight areas in which further research is needed.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Pragmatics
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cancer metaphors ; Metaphor identification ; Metaphor analysis ; Cognitive metaphor theory ; Steen’s five-step metaphor identification procedure
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
ID Code: 1941
Deposited By: Professor Mick (M. H.) Short
Deposited On: 27 Feb 2008 14:19
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 15:29
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/1941

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