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  • Metaphor: A practical introduction by Zoltán Kövecses
  • Irene Checa-García
Metaphor: A practical introduction. By Zoltán Kövecses. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Pp. xvi, 285. ISBN 0195145119. $19.95.

In this book Zoltán Kövecses provides a complete and easy introduction to the cognitive view of conceptual metaphor. His view challenges the traditional one by claiming that metaphors are pervasive in everyday life as a consequence of a ubiquitous metaphorical thinking.

Ch. 1 is devoted to the definition of conceptual metaphor as a set of systematic mappings between a source and a target domain. After exemplifying common source and target domains (Ch. 2), Ch. 3 surveys the different criteria by which conceptual metaphor can be classified. Chs. 4 and 5 center on literary and nonlinguistic realizations of metaphor respectively.

Chs. 6–9 are concerned with providing an explanation for a number of regularities regarding the preference for specific sources, domains as well as mappings between them, caused by their grounding in experience and the constraints that such grounding imposes. The discussion entertained in these chapters raises central topics such as the invariance hypothesis, the existence of primary and complex metaphors, metaphorical entailments, and the scope of metaphor, inter alia.

Ch. 10 focuses on the possibility of grouping conceptual metaphors into coherent systems of metaphors. Ch. 11 exposes another trope—metonymy. Like metaphor, this trope is conceptual in nature and governs the way we think. Furthermore, metonymy lies at the basis of some conceptual metaphors. Chs. 12 and 13 address the issue of the universality of certain metaphors in relation to their grounding in experience. Chs. 14 and 15 deal with implementing metaphor and metonymy for understanding long-debated problems like polysemy, idioms, shifting of grammatical categories, and change in meaning.

The most classic cognitive view of metaphor is supplemented with the mental spaces theory of Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner in Ch. 16, where this theory is sketched and its advantages for the study of metaphor and other phenomena are outlined. The final chapter offers a summary of the view of metaphor at three levels: supraindividual, individual, and subindividual.

Each chapter includes a summary, a further reading section, and exercises. At the end of the book, the reader will find a brief glossary followed by the key to the exercises, the references, and a general index arranged by names and contents.

In line with its introductory goal, the book is full of examples and features a gradual progression in argumentation, thus being accessible to the general reader. However, it has several flaws. A number of ideas are supported by examples alone, and some terms (e.g. simple vs. primary metaphors) are taken to be different without spelling out their criterial properties. But all in all, the book is well-organized, complete, and easy to follow, and the exercises are generally useful and appropriate to the topic of each chapter. This book may also prove helpful to the [End Page 809] advanced reader.

Irene Checa-García
University of Almería
...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 809-810
Launched on MUSE
2003-12-19
Open Access
No
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