AUTHOR: Rosario Caballero TITLE: Re-viewing space SUBTITLE: Figurative language in architects' assessment of built space SERIES TITLE: Applications of Cognitive Linguistics 2 PUBLISHER: Mouton de Gruyter YEAR: 2006
Eduardo Urios-Aparisi, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA
Rosario Caballero's ''Re-viewing space: Figurative language in architects' assessment of built space'' is an exhaustive and compelling study on how conceptual metaphors structure the discourse of architecture reviews and are creative rhetorical tools within this particular genre. Its goal is to study how genre is a meaning-making activity in which metaphor plays a major role as a structuring device. It further sheds light on issues of human cognition and Conceptual Metaphor Theory. The author proposes that a framework integrating the cognitive and communicative sides is necessary to understand metaphor. In the following text we can see an example of the kind of metaphors analyzed in this book: ''[the rooms] sit flush with the façade and fold open and back as necessary when the rooms are occupied and used in different ways: 'the mute box suddenly speaks of humanity''' [italicized in the original]. In this case, the adjective ''mute'' is used metaphorically. As Caballero suggests, ''here one of the buildings in a university campus is evaluated by means of an expression playing with both personification and visual information.'' The personification aspect is reinforced by its immediate co-text and by association to other adjectives like ''blind,'' and it means ''solid, closed to the exterior'' (81). The visual information accompanying this text has a particular role in helping to ''decide that 'mute' refers to the building’s 'keeping its mouth shut' or lack of openings, rather than to its ability to produce sound'' (81).
The book is divided into two general parts. The first part is preliminary, and includes, after the introduction, chapter 2, an overview of architectural discourse; chapter 3, a survey of literature on metaphor; and chapter 4, the methodology used in the second part. The second part analyzes the texts by focusing first on the metaphors that articulate the ideology of the building reviews in chapter 5. In Chapter 6 the analysis focuses on the linguistic realizations of those metaphors, while in Chapter 7, Caballero concludes her discussion by summarizing the role metaphor plays in the architecture review genre.
The introduction explores the discourse of the architectural texts through the pervasive presence of metaphors and their critical role in conveying the visual experience of the building anatomy. In order to study the communicative and cognitive roles of metaphor and define its functional role, Caballero integrates the Conceptual Metaphor Theory paradigm with the Hallidayan metafunctions of language. She argues that the discourse of architecture provides a systematic, homogenous context shared by an identifiable discourse community ''characterized by specific knowledge schemas, needs and interests'' (6). This approach allows for predictability in the results and constraints in the data.
In chapter 2, architectural discourse is analyzed by focusing on its multimodal features. Caballero concludes that this genre is essentially multimodal as it involves more than one mode of communication, although, according to her, it shows a tendency to use images to back up the claims and thus makes words dependent on images. The author establishes the relationships between the different types of visual representations (discipline-specific images like sketches, scale drawings, diagrams, perspectives or photographs; cf. p. 12) and the relationships between the different types of texts (captions, verbal accounts, texts; cf. p. 15).
Figurative language in architectural discourse is used as a heuristic tool at different stages of theory formation; it also has an important role in the process of ''thinking a building'': metaphor contributes to the design as a first-order design resource, and also as an evaluative stance. This evaluative function will be especially important in the genre of architectural reviews, which are generally illustrated with all kinds of images and addressed to a specialized audience.
The architectural discourse also shares a set of metaphors to describe the highly abstract concept of space. This discourse has been developed through a tradition of writers and thinkers that go as far back as the Renaissance and the concept of man as a measure of everything. As Caballero shows, the three domains that have ''furnished the theoretical and critical apparatus of architecture'' (18) are: metaphors from the natural sciences which derive from the biological theories of the XVIII and XIX centuries and that allude to the ''cultural 'topos' of nature versus civilization'' (19); metaphors from linguistic description; and metaphor from spatial mechanics. These metaphors form the subconscious framework of the architects' culture. ''Notions of built space articulated by language, biology or mechanistic metaphors are, then, part and parcel of architects' disciplinary acculturation and, therefore, conventional and automatic within the discipline'' (22).
Caballero distinguishes between metaphors that have fossilized and that are used automatically to refer to different parts of the building like ''paunch'' and those metaphors which are part of the generation of ideas and design of the building. Those metaphors are ''mostly visually informed. That is, they draw upon the external similarity of the object used as the generator of a given design and the appearance of the eventual outcome'' (23).
The cognitive mechanism of an architect is the ''thinking eye'' (Oxman 2002), which involves the process of a perceptual event that initiates ''reasoning with the perceived stimuli of visual objects'' (23). The author also argues that the increasing presence of perceptual metaphors is connected to the increasing presence of images, and the development of technologies to improve the visual quality of the graphics.
Chapter 3 presents the theoretical framework of conceptual metaphor theory. Caballero defines the parameters of the integration of conceptual metaphor theory and the framework of the approaches to discourse of the functional paradigm developed by Halliday (1984). She also explores the literature on metaphor within a discursive and communicative context. Metaphor is shown to perform important roles at a cognitive level (encoding the writer’s worldview) as well as at a textual level, as an evaluative and cohesive device and as indices of intertextuality following Moon (1998).
Chapter 4 focuses on the corpus of architectural reviews from their rhetorical structure in comparison with other kinds of reviews. Caballero defines them in terms of their function, the audience and their multimodal quality. She also analyzes the different classifications of metaphors and metaphor types and addresses the debated topic of metaphor identification and how different strategies need to be used. These include syntactic, semantic and also rhetorical strategies; that is to say, how architects use metaphor ''for communicative purposes'' (71). The second issue Caballero discusses is how, once the data are collected, the cognitive mappings that underlie the metaphors are identified. It is necessary to understand the community that uses the metaphors in order to ''understand the different kinds of knowledge that underlie the figurative construal of professional topics'' (73). The need for familiarity with the topic is also relevant to her proposal of a classification of metaphor that is flexible and dynamic as it is embedded in the practices and conventions of this architectural genre. Metaphors are found in clusters in different sections of the text; they are clustered in particular patterns and explicitly signaled. Metaphors are located in ''the texts' rhetorical structure'' (85) and contribute to the evaluative function of language (87). Perhaps one of the main contributions of this book is the author’s discussion of image metaphors and their importance for specialized discourses. The image metaphors are metaphors in which ''the mapping involves mental images rather than concepts'' (73) and they are motivated by resemblance. As is shown in chapter 5, the same image schemas that motivate conceptual metaphor via correlation can be found in metaphors motivated via resemblance.
In chapter 5 Caballero analyzes the instances of metaphors found in her corpus of building reviews divided according to the source domains. She identifies aspects of architectural processes and products instantiated by those metaphors. In this context, Caballero finds two types. ''Process-focus metaphors'' shape space into an artifact with its particular form and function (92ff.). ''Product-focused metaphors'' depict buildings according to their appearance, functional and behavioral properties (107ff.). She takes this analysis further and, following Goatly (1997), describes how the process of ''metaphor diversification'' is used to conceptualize the same target by means of different source domains. Her conclusions point towards two important issues regarding the image metaphors in these texts. First, more than one image schema can be invoked in the same text, as ''many sources can be explained as specific realizations of three dimensional spatial configurations relying on the 'bounded region' and 'surface' image schemas'' (125). Secondly, the ''metonymic selection of certain features characterizing the entities involved in the mapping (and standing for those traits in the final linguistic expression)'' plays an important role. So, for instance, in example 102 (p. 124) a building is referred to as a ''lozenge.'' The underlying process of this mapping is twofold: first, it maps only the overall shape (part) over the entity (whole) and the ''lozenge'' mapping is on the basis of their perceived similarity; secondly, the whole entity (lozenge) can be used to refer to the building as it stands for the trait. Finally, as mentioned earlier, the motivation for metaphorical mapping is based on resemblance, but grounded in correlational knowledge of image schemas which provide the structure and constraints of higher level metaphors.
Chapter 6 focuses on the study of the linguistic instantiations of metaphorical mappings. Caballero delves into the four realizations of metaphor in order of frequency: nominal, verbal, adjectival and adverbial metaphors. She studies each of these realizations and their patterns establishing how these patterns determine the role of metaphor at clause and sentence levels. In nominal constructions, the patterns follow the word collocation. In verbal instances, she focuses on how ''fictive motion constructions in architectural discourse convey information about what spatial ensembles look like, highlighting particular aspects of that appearance or of their immediate context'' (163). The adjectives are differentiated among the ''visually motivated adjectives'' and adjectives defining abstract qualities. Finally the few adverbial realizations endow the buildings with animated features. These metaphors appear in patterns that include repetition, multivalency, diversification, extension and mixing (Goatly 1997). Of those patterns, the ones which, according to Caballero, are found in her corpus are ''repetition, diversification, extension, and compounding'' (173).
Chapter 7 deals with the topic from a discourse perspective. Caballero establishes the links between the communicative needs of the architect and the demands of the discourse context of the architectural review. The metaphorically motivated jargon is situated in clusters in certain sections of the text connected with the descriptive purposes of the genres. Metaphorical language creates textual cohesion through the use of the patterns which were introduced in the previous chapter. Caballero also connects the use of metaphorical language as a face-saving strategy due to a double function. On the one hand, image metaphors may seem more subjective and less categorical. On the other hand, the ''less graphic metaphorical language'' is apparently objective in its absence of authorial identification and lack of validation when images are absent in the reviews.
The discussion in this book is a paradigmatic example of depth and thoroughness. It shows how the Conceptual Metaphor Theory paradigms applied to a specific corpus shed light on the classification of metaphors and their relations, but also on the issues regarding metaphors in all their aspects: their linguistic representations, the different components and domains involved in the metaphorical mapping, and how they are situated within this discourse. To this extent, it is a major addition to the series of monographs on metaphor in different contexts such as Goatly (1997), Cameron (2003), Charteris-Black (2004), Koller (2004), and Musolff (2004). It is also in line with other studies on the application of metaphor to corpora and discourse such as Deignan (2005), Semino (2008), and Pragglejaz Group (2007).
Caballero's research illuminates especially the concept of image metaphor and how image schemas also motivate their originality and creativity. In the context of space-body-architectural design, this connection is particularly meaningful since the creative intention of the architect is greatly based on these three elements. In this case, Oxman's view of the ''thinking eye'' as the cognitive mechanism of an architect (Oxman 1995 and 2002) and the amodal concept of cognition suggested by Talmy (2000) could be understood from another point of view. As in other similar creative processes such as painting, the architect's work could be considered the result of intermodal sense relations and rather than the ''thinking eye'' the creative process involves the whole body. Within the haptic conception, the architect's cognitive style can be defined as ''the thinking hand'' (cf. Pallasmaa 2001, 2005, 2009). This view proposes how the interaction of the senses integrated in the architect's creative process could also account for the multimodal experience motivated by the interaction of the architect with his or her space.
According to Caballero, metaphor is a culturally specific, discourse-bound cognitive phenomenon. The textual dimension of metaphor mapping identifies the motivations of metaphorical choice and the patterns of use of the linguistic resources by studying the grammatical form, location and density within the text. As a systematic and comprehensive book, it is a major contribution to the paradigms of the theory of Conceptual Metaphor within the parameters of a specific genre.
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ABOUT THE REVIEWER
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Eduardo Urios-Aparisi is Associate Professor in the department of Modern
and Classical Languages at the University of Connecticut. His main research
interests are applications of the theory of conceptual metaphor to
advertising, cinema and painting.