Metonymy first, metaphor second: A cognitivesemiotic approach to multimodal figures of thought in co-speech gesture

Irene Mittelberg, Linda R Waugh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on spoken academic discourse and its accompanying gestures, this chapter presents a cognitive-semiotic approach to multimodal communication that assigns equal importance to metaphor and metonymy. Combining traditional semiotics with contemporary cognitivist theories, we demonstrate how these two figures of thought jointly structure multimodal representations of grammatical concepts and structures. We discuss Jakobson's view of metaphor and metonymy, and particularly his distinction between internal and external metonymy, thus discerning various principles of sign constitution and indirect reference within metaphoric gestures (whether or not the concurrent speech is metaphorical). We then introduce a dynamic two-step interpretative model suggesting that metonymy leads the way into metaphor: in order to infer the imaginary objects or traces that gesturing hands seem to hold or draw in the air, a metonymic mapping between hand (source) and imaginary object (target) is a prerequisite for the metaphorical mapping between that very object (source) and the abstract idea (target) it represents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMultimodal Metaphor
PublisherWalter de Gruyter GmbH
Pages329-356
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9783110215366
ISBN (Print)9783110205152
StatePublished - Sep 4 2009

Keywords

  • Cognitive theory
  • Gesture
  • Metaphor
  • Metonymy
  • Semiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Metonymy first, metaphor second: A cognitivesemiotic approach to multimodal figures of thought in co-speech gesture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this