A Pragmatics of Metaphor: A Micronic Analysis of Metaphor in Conversation

Dissertation, Washington State University (1991)

Metaphor is a linguistic phenomenon that has been studied primarily in terms of a semantic analysis. I treat metaphor as a pragmatic tool used by interactants in the process of doing figurative work in their conversational interactions. The use of conversational metaphor has consequences for the actions of the participants engaged in doing the routine activity of talk. I examine the relationships between the organization and structure of talk and conversational metaphors. In addition, I discuss the complex relationship between metaphor and context. I suggest that context is essential to the use and understanding of metaphor in talk. The functions and effects of metaphors are demonstrated. In sum, I analyze conversational metaphor through a pragmatic filter to discover the features of how participants accomplish the collaborative activity of doing figurative work in talk
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