Metaphor in Pragmatics

Authored by: Miriam Taverniers

The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415531412
eBook ISBN: 9781315668925
Adobe ISBN:


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An overview of the pragmatic perspective on metaphor can be constructed in multiple ways. First of all, it is not automatically clear what ‘pragmatics’ is, and second, metaphor is an extremely vast topic, and not a pragmatic topic per se, in contrast to, for instance presupposition, intention, relevance, pragmatic enrichment. As to the latter complication, it is safe to say that metaphor is not dealt with systematically and comprehensively in pragmatics. When it is mentioned, it is often as an intermediate category: it is subsumed under more general phenomena (non-literal language, loose language), and sub-types of metaphor, such as conventional vs. novel metaphor and other types of distinctions, are often not taken into account. As a result, there is no clear ‘problem set’ of metaphor in relation to pragmatics.

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