Contextual Congruency and Novel Metaphor Integration

Kathleen Ahrens, Shu Ping Gong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to further our understanding of how novel metaphor sentences are processed at a discourse level. Previous studies have focused on contextual issues during the processing of sentences containing conventional metaphors, with the effect of context on sentences with novel metaphors less studied. Accordingly, we determined the effects of contextual congruency on novel metaphor sentences in short texts by conducting two on-line reading experiments. We adopted Conceptual Mapping Model in order to create sentences with two types of novel metaphor (1) sentences with novel metaphors that follow mapping principles (considered to be comparatively less novel) and (2) sentences with novel metaphors that do not follow mapping principles (considered to be comparatively more novel). In Experiment 1, conventional metaphor scenarios were preceded by congruent novel metaphor sentences following mapping principles and those not following mapping principles. In Experiment 2, conventional metaphor scenarios were preceded by incongruent novel metaphor sentences following mapping principles and those not following mapping principles. Results showed that congruent novel metaphor sentences following mapping principles were read faster than those not following mapping principles in conventional metaphor scenarios (Experiment 1), while there was a marginal difference in reading times between incongruent novel metaphor sentences following and those not following mapping principles, but not in the expected direction (Experiment 2). Our research supports previous work that shows that congruency plays a large role in assimilating new information, and also provides further evidence for the role of mapping principles in the creation and processing of novel metaphors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-132
JournalCognitive Linguistic Studies
Volume8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

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