What is it about?

The chapter, in a handbook on language and multimodality, is an overview of issues arising in the study of visual metaphor and of multimodal metaphor involving the visual mode. The following topics are addressed: monomodality versus multimodality; how to identify non-verbal metaphor; creative (Black 1979) versus structural metaphor (Lakoff and Johnson 1980); metaphorical source domains that emanate from within the discourse (= intradiegetic source domains) versus metaphorical source domains from outside of the discourse (=nondiegetic source domains); metaphor in static versus dynamic discourses; and the role of genre.

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Why is it important?

It is useful regularly to chart the state of the art in visual and multimodal metaphor, as this is a very quickly developing subdiscipline in metaphor studies. Multimodal metaphor scholars are beginning to specialize, focusing on advertising, comics, cartoons, or film, each requiring expertise in a specific medium.


One section in the chapter emphasizes that multimodal metaphor should become part of a more encompassing multimodal trope theory. While multimodal metonymy now has its first monograph (Peréz-Sobrino 2017), other multimodal tropes are awaiting sustained examination (see also Forceville 2019).

Dr Charles Forceville
Universiteit van Amsterdam

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: 10. Pictorial and Multimodal Metaphor, January 2016, De Gruyter,
DOI: 10.1515/9783110296099-011.
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