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Grammatical Metaphor
Lecture 8

Grammatical Metaphor
Metaphor: In traditional literary criticism, metaphors are distinguished from similes: A metaphor states that something is equivalent to another thing which is not usually associated with it. A simile states that something is like another thing which it is not usually associated with. For example, ‘The man is a lion’ is a (lexical) metaphor, while ‘The man is like a lion’ is a simile.

Grammatical Metaphor
Other lexical metaphors: a dead metaphor (only animate things can actually live or die) comfortable feet (feet don’t have feelings – their possessor does!) blood bank (bank àa place where something valuable is kept)

Grammatical Metaphor
Grammatical metaphor: Meaning construed in a different way by means of a different grammatical construction. Example: clause [process with participant + circumstance] coded as phrase

Grammatical Metaphor
He drove the bus over-rapidly downhill. = his overrapid downhill driving of the bus The brakes failed. = brake failure = His overrapid downhill driving of the bus caused brake failure.

Grammatical Metaphor
Congruent vs metaphorical expressions Congruent. The ‘literal’ as opposed to the metaphorical realization of meaning: the congruence between semantics and lexicogrammar. Congruent forms reflect the typical ways that we construe experience. Metaphor implies a discrepancy between semantics and lexicogrammar. A matter of degree!

Experiential and logical metaphors
Congruent relationship between lexicogrammar and semantics: Nouns = things / participants Verbs = events / processes Adjectives = properties / attributes & epithets

process coded as participant (adjectival) attribute coded as participant ‘objectifying’ processes and attributes encapsulation/condensation

This time her decision had cost her something. (decision =participant) Because she had decided something, she had to suffer the consequences. (decide à mental process)

His only sign of discomfort was the nervous trembling of the fingers that toyed with the buttons of his overcoat. (discomfort–entity, trembling–thing) The only thing that showed that he was uncomfortable was that his fingers were trembling nervously as they were toying with the buttons of his overcoat. (uncomfortable– attribute, trembling–behavioural process)

The failure of the corn crop made labor cheap. (failure-participant) The corn crop failed and (so) labor became cheap. (fail–process) When Beckett’s name came into the discussion, the priest grew loud. When someone mentioned Beckett’s name while we were discussing, the priest began to talk loud.

Interpersonal metaphors
Modality metaphors The modality feature can be dressed up as a proposition. In other words, projection is involved when modality is expressed metaphorically. The projecting clause involved usually has a word or proposition which signifies belief, likelihood, certainty, or other features which one connects with modality.

Interpersonal metaphors
1. I don’t believe it can be proved by statistics.
(can it? *do I?) = it probably can’t be proved by statistics. 2. He doesn’t believe it can be proved by statistics. (does he? *can it?) 3. I should think there would be a better chance. (wouldn’t there?) = There will probably be a better chance.

Interpersonal metaphors
1. I’m sorry to have to say this to you.
2. 3.
= Unfortunately I have to say this to you. It is possible that the study of literature affects the conscience, I find it likely that the study of literature affects the conscience. There is evidence that the study of literature affects the conscience. You must take this course. You are required to take this course.

5. 6.

Interpersonal metaphors
Congruent relationship between mood and speech function Interrogative = question Declarative = statement Imperative = command

Interpersonal metaphors
In literary works, a rhetorical question is quite often a metaphorical question that serves the congruent function of making a declarative statement. For example, Shakespeare’s ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day…?’ can be congruently translated to a conditional declarative clause: ‘If I compare thee to a summer’s day’ (From Sonnet no 18: "Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art

more lovely and more temperate. / Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, / And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.")

Textual metaphor
Thematic equative (Theme italicized clause as participant): 1.I asked them round for drinks. 2.What I did was ask them round for drinks. 3.All I did was ask them round for drinks. 4.I worry about the poor quality of their work. 5.What worries me is the poor quality of their work. 6.What went wrong was that the valve was overheated.

Metaphors in text
Whether or not Plenty is David Hare’s finest play, and there are sage voices who make that claim, it certainly has one great strength. Does anyone write better parts for women than Hare? And can you think of a character that makes more demands on an actress’s mind, heart and stomach than the one that, 21 years after the premiere of the play, Cate Blanchett robustly tackles for the Almeida company?

Metaphors in text
When we meet her Susan Traherne it is London in 1962, and she is a middle-aged Foreign Office wife about to leave the husband whose career she has ruined. Then the scene switches back to occupied France in 1943, and we begin to see the reasons for her decline. She is a 17-year-old British agent, meeting a spy who has dropped by parachute into Gestapo country, and, despite the tears that suddenly erupt from a seemingly aloof, controlled Blanchett, she feels purposeful, significant, even patriotic.

Metaphors in text
Hare’s point is that we emerged from the Hitler war believing that England would soon flow with milk and honey, and instead we got a flood of marketing men, ad agencies and City speculators. "Plenty" was promised; but, by the time Hare’s darting, cinematic narrative has reached mid-1962, what has mainly been delivered is blasted hopes and thwarted dreams.

Metaphors in text
This seemed a pretty simplistic summary of recent history back in 1978 - didn’t Hare’s political friends get their hands on our education system, for instance, and make an awful hash of it? - and it does so still. Yet the writing is always lively and often funny, and the central role more than that.

Metaphors in text
Susan is a muddle and a puzzle, a conformist rebel and a destructive idealist. Her war behind the lines left her longing for a nation fit for heroes. It also made her tricky and callous, a woman too restless and self-absorbed to create anything fit for anyone.

Metaphors in text
We watch Blanchett’s Susan moping over the advertising copy she has been hired to write, firing her gun at the affable prole who has failed to make her pregnant, raging at the perversity of Suez, smashing her posh flat in useless protest against the wealth she thinks is killing her, and impotently trying to rediscover that lost youth in France.

Metaphors in text
All this asks Blanchett to be svelte and assured, bitter and brassy, crazily aggressive, and, as when her doomed hopes of motherhood enter the emotional equation, oddly vulnerable; and Blanchett gives us the lot.

Grammatical Metaphor
End of Lecture Thank you for your attention



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