LINGUIST List 11.873

Fri Apr 14 2000

Disc: Literary Semantics

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


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  1. jose luis guijarro, RE: 11.855, Disc: Literary Semantics
  2. Dan Moonhawk Alford, Re: 11.855, Disc: Literary Semantics

Message 1: RE: 11.855, Disc: Literary Semantics

Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 10:31:33 +0200
From: jose luis guijarro <guijarrowanadoo.es>
Subject: RE: 11.855, Disc: Literary Semantics

On: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 19:47: Kathleen Therese O'Connor wrote:

> Your concern about the use of the term literary semantics as being
> problematic can be clarified, I think, by looking at the designation of
> metaphor as either defined according to cognitive linguistics or to poetic
> figures or highly metaphorical prose. When our everyday metaphors reveal
> an aspect of our conceptual framework, like the fact that we think of
> communications as a conduit: "I can't get THROUGH to you", we are using
> metaphorical language quite differently than if we were to refer to the
> evening as "Twilight's pale blue rhapsody". I think that to treat
> literary semantics separately is a means that linguists have of applying
> semantic theory to what rhetoricians do with stylistics.

Dear Kathleen!

As a linguist interested in pragmatics (1), I can't agree with you here.

It may well be that the processing of those two types of metaphor is
different. If this were the case, it should be described and explained, not
merely postulated. In fact, all the serious research I have at my disposal
seems to point to the idea of the existence of only one type of metaphorical
process.

I agree that we might "value" your second example as "more beautiful" (or
whatever!), but as far as I know, the job of Linguistics is not to assess
social (or cultural) value of verbal expressions, but to find out how and
why they work like they do. As I said in my precedent message, the question
of literary value should be studied from another wider point of view.
Perhaps anthropological(2) ?





Hast'adios!

Jose Luis Guijarro Morales
Facultad de Filosofia y Letras
Avda. Gomez Ulla, 1
11003 Cadiz (Espa´┐Ża)
Tel. +34 956 015526
Fax. +34 956 015501
joseluis.guijarrouca.es
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Message 2: Re: 11.855, Disc: Literary Semantics

Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 10:34:08 -0700 (PDT)
From: Dan Moonhawk Alford <dalfordhaywire.csuhayward.edu>
Subject: Re: 11.855, Disc: Literary Semantics



On Thu, 13 Apr 2000, "Kathleen Therese O'Connor" <kto2columbia.edu> 
wrote:

> Jose Luis:
> 
> 
> Your concern about the use of the term literary semantics as being
> problematic can be clarified, I think, by looking at the designation of
> metaphor as either defined according to cognitive linguistics or to poetic
> figures or highly metaphorical prose. When our everyday metaphors reveal
> an aspect of our conceptual framework, like the fact that we think of
> communications as a conduit: "I can't get THROUGH to you", we are using
> metaphorical language quite differently than if we were to refer to the
> evening as "Twilight's pale blue rhapsody". I think that to treat
> literary semantics separately is a means that linguists have of applying
> semantic theory to what rhetoricians do with stylistics.

I'd like to add that the cognitive linguists, while doing a truly bang-up
job, go too far and even mislead when they say that metaphor is essential
to all human language. Amethyst First Rider, a Blackfoot speaker from
Alberta, Canada, reiterated last summer at a Bohmian Science Dialogue that
when she is speaking her own language, no matter what it sounds like in
English, that she's not using metaphor. Metaphor may be a kind of
classification, but classification is not a form of metaphor. We need to
be humble in our claims for universality, it seems to me. Just a sidenote,
not aimed at anyone in particular. ;-)

warm regards, moonhawk
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