Toward a Unified Account of Metonymy

Sato, Ayako (2017) Toward a Unified Account of Metonymy. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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From the perspective of cognitive linguistics, metonymy is a conceptual operation in which one entity maps onto the other entity within a single domain at the conceptual level. There are two related perspectives as to what motivates metonymy: metonymy as having a referential function and metonymy as being motivated by conceptual contiguity. However, there are some linguistic expressions that are less readily identifiable as being motivated in one of these ways. For example, many scholars (e.g., Gibbs 1990, Barnden 2010) argues that example (1) The creampuff didn’t even show up has a referential function, like metonymy, but is, in fact, an instance of metaphor. Analogously, in (2) Ann has her mother’s eyes, Warren (1999) argues the relationship between the inherited characteristic is motivated by both perceptual similarity and conceptual contiguity. What these two examples reveal is the following: First, metaphor can exhibit symptoms normally attributed to metonymy, and second, there appears not to always be a clear distinction between where metonymy ends and metaphor begins. This observation leads to a number of outstanding questions. First, is metonymy in fact a unified phenomenon? Second, if not, how are metonymies motivated? Third, how is metonymy related to other figurative phenomena, especially metaphor? I argue that metonymy, while constituting a unified phenomenon, nevertheless exhibits variation. In point of fact, I claim that examples (1) and (2) amount to distinct types of metonymy, which lie on a continuum. To answer the second question, I examine the nature of metonymic compositionality. I do so to show how metonymic linguistic ‘vehicles’ interface with the (nonlinguistic) conceptual level in the course of figurative language understanding. Finally, I explore the relationship between metaphor and metonymy. I argue that they are related in terms of occupying a continuum with different linguistic expressions and, on occasion, exhibiting symptoms of both

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of Linguistics and English Language
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2017 10:11
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2017 10:11
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/10204
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