LINGUIST List 25.2998

Mon Jul 21 2014

Confs: Pragmatics, Cognitive Science/Belgium

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 19-Jul-2014
From: Xinren Chen <>
Subject: Understanding Metonymy: Context and Cognition
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Understanding Metonymy: Context and Cognition

Date: 26-Jul-2015 - 31-Jul-2015
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Contact: Xinren Chen
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science; Pragmatics

Meeting Description:

The cognitive turn in linguistics has brought forth new insights into traditional tropes such as metaphor and metonymy. As in the case of metaphor, metonym has come to be seen as a ubiquitous cognitive phenomenon reflected in language rather than an occasional witty or rhetorical process. Unlike the use of metaphor whose cognitive processing has been extensively studied from cognitive-pragmatic perspectives (Carston 2002; Pilkington 2000; Sperber & Wilson 1986/1995; Wilson 2003), however, that of metonymy has received relatively less attention, leaving a lot of important issues in need of adequate explanation. These issues mainly include the following: i) In what context is a (referential) expression interpreted metonymically? ii) What kind of pragma-cognitive processes are involved in assigning the metonymic interpretation? iii) What is the selective mechanism in cases of competing candidate metonymic interpretations? iv) What is the cognitive effect that ensues from the use of metonymy? v) To what extent are current models of interpretation pertaining to metonymy amenable to empirical tests?

This panel will focus on, while not limited to, these major issues of metonymy research and seek to speculatively and empirically tackle the explanatory power of the current theoretical models, such as Gradient Salience Hypothesis by Giora (1997, 2003), Relevance Theory by Sperber and Wilson (1986/1995) and Wilson and Sperber (2012), and Mental Space Theory and Blending Theory by Fauconnier (1994) and Fauconnier and Turner (2002), in hope of seeking new viable cognitive accounts of metonymy used in context. A range of social-cognitive contextual factors such as lexical knowledge, grammatical knowledge, familiarity with metonymic usages, knowledge about the frequency of metonymic usages, genre knowledge, background assumptions, knowledge of co-text, and recognition of the current interactional goal will be explored and tested to reveal their possible effect on the interpretation of metonymy, in terms of its cognitive path, pattern, principle and predictability.

All the individual studies contributed to this panel will be conducted on the basis of authentic data from a variety of sources. Diverse methodology will be adopted across the panel, including speculative theorizing, qualitative analysis, corpus-based analysis, and various forms of experimental research like eye tracking survey, ERP study, RP test, event-related functional magneticresonance imaging (fMRI) and think-aloud protocol.

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