Metaphor and Symbol 32 (2):103-117 (2017)

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Abstract
This article explores the ways in which language users make sense of metaphoricity when manifest in a variety of ways within the language. The research provides an analysis of the lexical characteristics of a single item when used in potentially, but not clearly identified, metaphoric contexts. The analysis focuses on flexible patterns of meaning and the relationship between metaphor and other aspects of figurative language such as polysemy, metonymy, and meronymy. The research stands as a follow up to a larger corpus-driven study that found differences in the lexical behavior of clearly defined metaphoric and nonmetaphoric instances of items, when looking at a large set of collocations, colligations, and semantic, pragmatic and textual associations. These behaviors or patterns are consequently avoided by the non-metaphoric instances of that same item, in order to avoid ambiguity. In the case of more ambiguous or unclear cases of metaphor, this article aims to determine if these patterns are still visible and the extent to which they signal metaphoricity. Evidence of such patterns would imply that lexical, grammatical, textual, and pragmatic manifestations in language play an important role in distinguishing between subtleties in word senses and meanings, even in the case of less obvious metaphoricity. As a consequence, awareness of these behaviors or characteristics should be at the forefront of any lexical metaphor theory.
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DOI 10.1080/10926488.2017.1297622
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