2010/1/25 Richard O'Keefe <o...@cs.otago.ac.nz>:
> When native speakers are no longer aware that it is a metaphor.

I think we can be influenced by metaphors without necessarily being
conscious of them.

> More to the
> point, I think Blackwell's "violent events" metaphor is bogus,
> on the grounds that (a) "impact" isn't necessarily _violent_
> (the impact between two children's balloons is hardly violent)

I think that's why we don't generally talk about two ballons
impacting.  Can you imagine using the word impact to describe two
balloons bumping off one another at a children's party (without being
humourous)?  Can you imagine a newsreader saying one aeroplane bumped
off another aeroplane before bursting into flames?

> When we talk about musical scales, who among us thinks of ladders?

Again, it's not at all about conscious thought but the structure of
concepts, which it's difficult to introspect about.  Musical pitch is
a clear up-down orientational metaphor, so stepping up in pitch does
make a relation with going up a ladder rather supportable in my
opinion.

One of the assertions made by Lackoff and Johnson is that the idea of
a 'dead metaphor' is flawed.  If a metaphor becomes engrained in a
language, and used without conscious discrimination, then rather than
it becoming 'dead', they assert that such a metaphor has become a
fundamental structure of thought in a culture and so is very much
alive.  Of course the use of the word 'dead' here has always been
metaphorical, but perhaps that makes their point rather nicely.

There are empirical psychological tests for trying to get at
metaphorical relations between concepts.  I don't know the literature
but have read that results have been mixed.  More generally it seems
that cognitive linguistics suffers from lack of interaction with other
fields.  Again I haven't read far into this though.

alex

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