Document Type

Original Study


Metaphor is understanding one thing in terms of another. Metaphors can be experienced in two types in relation to their modes: monomodal and multimodal metaphors. Taking for granted that conceptual metaphor is a matter of thought and action entails that other modes than verbal/linguistic one can express metaphor individually or jointly. Declaring that metaphors may be represented non-verbally and multimodally requires other procedures that allow us to propose a metaphorical identity-relationship between two phenomena pertaining to distinct categories. It would appear that discussing multimodal metaphor would need agreement on what counts as a mode or modality. This is no easy task, since what is labeled as a mode is a complex of different features. It is assumed, as a first approximation, that a mode is a sign system interpretable that can be decoded using specific perception process. Agreeing upon this would allow relating modes to the five senses one-by-one, resulting in the following list: (1) the pictorial or visual mode; (2) the aural or sonic mode; (3) the olfactory mode; (4) the gustatory mode; and (5) the tactile mode. Generally, two kinds of operations are used in understanding language. First one is the linguistic operation that includes lexical access and syntactic analysis. The second kind is the pragmatic operation which is not less important than the linguistic one. Psycholinguistic experiments show that conventional idiomatic and metaphorical meanings are processed immediately. However, the quintessence of multimodal metaphor is not in language only, but in our mental conceptualization of one domain in terms of another. The general theory of metaphor can be represented by such cross-domain mappings. Everyday metaphor is represented by an enormous system of umpteen cross-domain mappings.