Analysis of Evaluative Meanings of Conceptual Metaphors

A School of Education seminar presented on February 2nd, 2015 by Professor Ya Sun

Through the case study of metaphorical construction of the concepts of BUSINESS and ENTERPRISE, this paper integrates corpus linguistics and the evaluation theory to provide a framework for working out the evaluative meanings of conceptual metaphors with the help of the online corpus tool Wmatrix.
Firstly, metaphor vehicles are identified with the help of MIPVU from the collocates of target-domain words in the self-built corpus of business discourse so that conceptual metaphors used to talk about the concepts under study can be found directly
Secondly, more than one semantic tag, which is allocated automatically to each metaphor vehicle by Wmatrix, can be divided into two types. One type of semantic tag, based on the definition of the source domain of conceptual metaphors, can be regarded as the labels of source domains for metaphor vehicles in order to formulate conceptual metaphors. The type of semantic tag, based on the definition of the evaluation of the appraisal system, can be recognized as the specific attitudinal meanings of metaphor vehicles.
Thirdly, the specific attitudinal meanings serve as triggers to the evaluative meanings in the appraisal system and thus the general semantic prosody for the corresponding conceptual metaphors.
It is found that the concepts under study are evaluated positively in terms of valuation and capacity, the evaluative meanings of conceptual metaphors can be understood as the more operational concept “register prosody”, and that the annotation of register prosody facilitates the emergence of the interface among corpus methods, metaphor analysis and discourse analysis.

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