LING 420 - Word and Metaphor
Section: 001
Term: FA 2007
Subject: Linguistics (LING)
Department: LSA Linguistics
Advisory Prerequisites:
LING 315, 316, or equivalent.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Semantics is the study of meaning; lexical semantics is the study of the meaning of words. This is different from formal topics like propositional and predicate calculus, which deal mostly with the meaning of sentences, or pragmatics, which deals mostly with the meaning of utterances. The object of this course is to understand metaphor, but since metaphor is exemplified in words, we must first understand words. Thus the course is concerned largely with the word-level, but we will deal occasionally with logic and pragmatics, since language, like the human mind, is a living thing, and there-fore is not divided neatly into functional subroutines like a well-designed computer program.

We begin by making sure that we are all on the same page, epistemologically speaking, by going over some basic scientific presuppositions, as discussed by Bateson, and then proceed to an elementary statement of the cognitive metaphor theory of Lakoff and Johnson, in part 1 of the coursepack. Next we study some basic concepts of word semantics, the ontological and epistemo-logical categories they express in human languages, and the relevance of these to metaphor, as well as to grammar, pragmatics, and logic, in the first textbook (Frawley, Linguistic Semantics, at Shaman Drum) and in Parts 2 & 3 of the coursepack. To solidify your knowledge, a paper (of 5-10 pages) presenting an elementary analysis of some natural class of English words, will be due October 17th (after Study Days).

Finally, we spend the rest of the term investigating metaphor and its cognitive and cultural extensions (fields, schemata, images, symbolism, iconicity, ideas, memes, conventions, rituals, myths, phonosemantics) and other issues in lexical semantics, in the second textbook (Köveces, Metaphor) and in Part 4 of the coursepack. You will begin to compose drafts of your term project, the final, revised, improved, and polished version of which is due on December 10th, the last day of class. Extensions cannot be granted for this deadline.

The course is open to graduate students as well as undergraduates. The prerequisite is completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, either one course in syntax (such as LING 315 or 515) or one course in semantics (such as LING 316 or 514). Prof. Lawler is also teaching a Freshman Seminar on Metaphor this term, and there may be opportunities for interaction with projects.

LING 420 - Word and Metaphor
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
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