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Title: Interpreting metaphor : perspectives from pragmatics & psychotherapy
Author: Needham-Didsbury, I. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 4241
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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The primary objective of this thesis is to provide an account of metaphor comprehension that applies to the full spectrum of metaphorical utterances. I take the relevance-theoretic account of communication, and its entailed theory of metaphor, to provide a good account of how many metaphorical expressions are comprehended, in particular lexical/phrasal cases. However, I maintain the need for a different processing route to account for instances of metaphor interpretation in which the literal meaning of the metaphorical utterance is more keenly felt and experienced by the interpreter. As I demonstrate, this applies to cases of extended and/or creative metaphorical utterances. The additional processing route described, referred to as the 'metaphorical/imaginary world' route, is argued to be complementary to the relevance-theoretic ad hoc concept account and is, therefore, framed against the backdrop of RT's general theory of communication. In order to incorporate the perspective-shifting and imagistic effects that I show to be derived during 'metaphorical world' comprehension, I suggest enriching the relevance-theoretic notion of 'encyclopaedic entry' to encompass affective and imagistic content. This work takes its cue from recent research in the field of embodied simulation. In my attempt to offer support for the existence of the metaphorical world mode of understanding, I present two empirical investigations designed to test its claims. In addition, I provide extensive analysis of metaphorical expressions that occur in the context of psychotherapeutic discourse. I argue that this unique communicative context lends itself to the metaphorical world processing route in so much as it creates a reflective space that invites both client and therapist to deeply consider and sustain the literal meanings of their metaphorical expressions. While my main goal is to inform pragmatic theories of metaphor comprehension, this endeavour also serves therapeutic ends, by informing the theoretical underpinnings concerning the use of metaphor in psychotherapy.
Supervisor: Carston, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available