IDIOMS IN ACTION: A CASE OF CONCEPTUAL METAPHOR THEORY VS BLENDING THEORY
This paper addresses the question of how the Conceptual Metaphor Theory with its well-established mechanism of cross-domain conceptual mappings, on the one hand, and the Conceptual Integration Theory, or Blending Theory with its mechanism of combining two or more input spaces into an emergent novel conceptual structure, on the other hand, can be rigorously applied to the cognitive linguistic analysis of idioms, such as damaged goods, for example. Subsequently, the studies done so far in this are examined and the two approaches are directly employed in the idiom analysis. The hypothesis as to whether Blending Theory, as opposed to the Conceptual Metaphor Theory, can be more productive in the idiom analysis in terms of input and output information involved is tested. It is argued that, if contrasted with the Conceptual Metaphor Theory, Blending Theory tentatively provides a more convincing and multifaceted toolkit for the idiom analysis. First, it is metaphorically-based. Second, it involves two or more input spaces for the conceptual structure representation, whereas there is only one cross-domain mapping mechanism put forth in the Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Third, it allows for context-dependent meaning construction. Fourth, it outlines the set of cognitive operations leading up to idiomatic creativity. The article findings affirm these assumptions yet also suggest that cognitive linguistic accounts of idioms will benefit from the combined application of the two approaches, as opposed to their standalone use.
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