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(Unparelleled) Creativity in Metaphor. Related to poster:. John Barnden School of Computer Science University of Birmingham England From work supported by EPSRC. ATT-Meta: a Theory & a System. Theoretical account of types of reasoning claimed to be fundamental in much metaphor.

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(Unparelleled) Creativity in Metaphor

Related to poster:

John Barnden

School of Computer Science

University of Birmingham

England

From work supported by EPSRC


ATT-Meta:a Theory & a System

  • Theoretical account of types of reasoning claimed to be fundamental in much metaphor.

    • Not particularly geared towards AI.

  • Implemented computer program partially instantiating that theory: in order to

    • enhance the completeness & coherence of the theory

    • test it

    • lead the way to new AI systems for metaphor.

  • Implementation work inspired new theoretical developments, including (cf. talks at NDCL-05):

    • the major role of source-over-target overriding, and how to handle overriding in metaphor.

    • deconstruction of relationship between metaphor & metonymy.


Metaphor

  • talking (etc.) about something as if it were something else, to exploit the something-else’s qualities.

  • E.g.: “Time is galloping past.”

  • Think of metaphor as involving a “metaphorical view” that involves mappings between “source” subject matter and “target” subject matter.

  • Novel metaphor = when the utterance does not use familiar views:

    • John unpeeledthe temperature //The road was a dolphin.

  • Stock metaphorical phraseology (idioms): particular words, phrases, or templates that are often used, usually based on very familiar metaphorcial views:

    • in the recesses of X’s mind

  • Variation of stock metaphorical phraseology:

    • in the unlit recesses of X’s mind


ATT-Meta’s Main Aim:map-transcending metaphor

  • When the utterance uses familiar metaphorical views

    BUT

    some source aspect is NOTmapped by them:

    • SnakeByte technologiesgobbled upRabbitWare andspat its managers out.

    • One part of mewasinsistingthat I should go.


Map-Transcending Metaphor, contd.

  • He dredged up his mud-encrusted memories.

  • In the far reaches ofher mind, Anne knew that …

  • Men aren’t islands, but some are peninsulas.

  • The middle managers have cricks in their necks from talking down to the workers and up to the bosses.


Variation of Stock Metaphorical Phraseology [cf. Moon 1998]

  • “in the recesses of X’s mind” could be in a lexicon, a WordNet, etc.

  • But productive variation is possible:

    • in the dimrecesses of X’s mind

    • in the deep recesses of X’s mind

    • in the distant recesses of X’s mind

    • in the unlit recesses of X’s mind

  • Such variation is often map-transcending.


  • Emphasizes degrees (gradations).

  • Emphasizes qualitative uncertainty.

  • Allows source information to override target.

  • Allows combinations of metaphorical views.

  • (Parallel & serial.)


CERTAIN Target Informationoverriding Potential Transfer from Source

Peter’s job is a jail.

  • In general, this could connote that

    • The job severely limits Peter’s freedom of action within the job

    • Peter cannot leave it

    • It was imposed as a punishment.

  • However, we may be certain that actually Peter can leave it whenever he likes, and that it was not imposed as a punishment.


Thatcher was the Ronald Reagan of the UK.

Thatcher remains female (& ferociously ferrous)!

even though

Macoute was the Jane Austen of France

plausibly connotes femaleness for Macoute if the gender of this person is unknown.


  • Note that things (stereotypically) associated with maleness can carry over in the Thatcher/Reagan case …

  • E.g., desire to win at things

  • (as long as Reagan himself plausibly had this quality).


Transfers from Source overriding UNcertain Target Information

[cf. Deane 1993; Blending theory]

  • Peter’s job is a jail

    • when we only know that most people in the given context can leave their jobs whenever they like: the sentence can override this default.

  • The company nursed its competitors back to health

    • overriding the target default that companies don’t generally help their competitors.

  • In the dim recesses of her mind, Mary was thinking that ….

    • overriding the target default that when people are thinking about something they are doing it in a standardly conscious way.


  • I actually seek out stress and wallow in the stuff

    • overriding the target defaults that stress is to be avoided and that it feels unpleasant.

  • I’d sloshed the two things together [mentally]

    • overriding the target default that the two things in question would normally have been kept separate in one’s mind.

  • Her words triggered an elusive memory. … I frowned, trying to drag it to the surface, but I couldn’t get hold of it

    • overriding the target default that memories have already been “got hold of”.


Range of Exceptionality

  • Some exceptions to defaults are more unusual than others.

  • The company nursed its competitors back to health

  • very exceptional

  • In the dim recesses of her mind, Mary was thinking that ….

  • the exception itself is a common situation


Transfers from Source overriding even CERTAIN Target Information

  • When, e.g., the metaphor is in a question or counterfactual condition.

  • Is Peter’s job a jail?

    • Even if answerer is certain that Peter can leave his job whenever he likes, he/she must still allow for questioner not knowing this.

  • If Peter’s job were a jail, he would go crazy.

    • Similarly, understander has to allow for the possibility that Peter’s leaving-job ability is being suspended in the counterfactual condition.


A Conjecture

  • One major function of metaphor is precisely to help describe non-default situations (as well as default ones).

  • Non-default situations in a domain are ones that are likely not to be directly describable using the standard linguistic resources of the domain.

    • She knew that she had made a mistake.

    • She knew somewhere in the dim recesses of her mind that she had made a mistake.

  • Conflicts with target defaults are often the whole point of the metaphor, rather than an unfortunate hitch.


View-Neutral Mapping Adjuncts[cf. Carbonell]

  • Emotions, value judgmentsandmental statesare often implicitly transferred from source to target in metaphor in general. (May even be a primary function of metaphor.)

    • Managerialism is sneaking into academia.

    • Poverty is a disease.

    • We’re conducting a war on terrorism.

  • Transferred irrespective of the particular metaphorical views in play.

  • Transferred only by default.


Other VNMAs

  • uncertainty

  • degrees (intensities)

  • causation, enablement, ability, ease, etc.

  • proper functioning

  • event shape, temporal relationships

  • sets, qualitative set sizes.

  • Some implemented, some being implemented.


  • VNMAs: Example 1

    “John and Mary are in a race with each other at work.”

    • Rests on Abstract Process as Physical Journey.

    • John & Mary are viewed as being in a race.

    • So each intendsto win that race, i.e. to finish the race journey first.

    • The finishingand thefirst-ness map by VNMAs.

    • So each intendsto finish their work first, by another VNMA.


    VNMAs: Example 2

    “This all means that general managers have cricks in their necks from talking down to the Community Health Councils and District Health Authorities, and up to Regions and the Department.” [real example, quoted in Goatly 1997]

    • Rests on Organizational Control AS Vertical Position.

    • So in the PRETENCE the managers experience negative emotions, and can no longer talk easily to the Councils, Dept, etc.

    • The emotions, the no-longer, and abilitymap by VNMAs.

    • So the managers, in REALITY, experience negative emotions, and can no longer talk easily to the Councils, Dept, etc.

    • See sheets at end for more detail & a diagram (Fig 2).


    Contextual-Issue-Drivenness

    “In the far reaches of her mind, Anne knew Kyle was having an affair, butto acknowledge the betrayal to herself would have meant she would have had to take a stand.” [Cosmopolitan, 1994]

    • “acknowledge to herself” and the “but” raise the issue of the extent of Anne’s conscious awareness.

    • Suppose we know a conscious thinking AS physical operationmetaphorical correspondence.

    • Then, raise issue of extent to which Anne physically operates on the idea of Kyle having an affair.

    • Answer this by using general knowledge about physical objects and space, incl. about “far reaches”.


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