Semino, Elena and Deignan, Alice and Littlemore, Jeannette (2013) Metaphor, genre and recontextualization. Metaphor and Symbol, 28 (1). pp. 41-59. ISSN 1092-6488
Earlier studies have demonstrated the dynamic properties of metaphor by showing how the meanings and functions of metaphorical expressions can flexibly change and develop within individual texts or discourse events (Cameron 2011). In this paper, we draw from Linell’s (2009) typology of ‘recontextualization’ in order to analyze the development of particular metaphors in three pairs of linked texts, each produced over a number of years, on the topics of medicine, politics and the parenting of children with special needs. We show how key metaphorical expressions from earlier texts or conversations are re-used by later writers, in different genres and registers, to convey new meanings and serve new functions. We account for these new meanings and functions by considering the relevant domain of activity and the differences between the original context of use and the context(s) in which the metaphor is re-used. Our study contributes, from a diachronic perspective, to the growing body of literature that recognizes the dynamic and context-bound nature of metaphorical language.
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