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Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus

Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus

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Funded by:  AHRC

Main contact:  Dr Wendy Anderson

Start date:  2012

End date:  2014

Subject area:
English Language - School of Critical Studies, College of Arts

Mapping Metaphor uses the database of the Historical Thesaurus to survey the workings of metaphor in English over thirteen centuries. Over the past 30 years, it has become clear that metaphor is not simply a literary phenomenon; metaphorical thinking underlies the way we make sense of the world conceptually. When we talk about ‘a healthy economy’ or ‘a clear argument’ we are using expressions that imply the mapping of one domain of experience (e.g. medicine, sight) onto another (e.g. finance, perception). When we describe an argument in terms of warfare or destruction (‘he demolished my case’), we may be saying something about the society we live in. The study of metaphor is therefore of vital interest to scholars in many fields, including linguists and psychologists, as well as to scholars of literature.