Metaphor and Ambiguity Analysis - MAmbA 2020

Country: Germany

City: Tübingen

Abstr. due: 31.12.2019

Dates: 24.04.20 — 25.04.20

Area Of Sciences: Humanities;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: Universität Tübingen


The workshop is organized by the RTG ''Ambiguity - Production and Perception''.

There is a long tradition of discussing metaphors in cognitive linguistics that has offered valuable insights into the cognitive mapping process underlying metaphorical language (e.g. Lakoff & Johnson 1980). However, cognitive linguists have put less emphasis on a formal semantic modelling and the integration into theories of compositional semantics. Neither did formal semantic approaches try to include metaphors into their analyses, exclusively focusing on literal meaning. In recent years, first attempts have been made by formal semanticists to model metaphors, or to include them into formal analyses (e.g. Asher & Lascarides 2001; Pustejovsky & Rumshisky 2010; Spalek 2012, 2015; McNally & Spalek 2017). The intended workshop is settled within that framework.

The sentence in (1) is ambiguous between a literal and a metaphorical reading: What triggers the metaphorical reading in this case? Apparently, the meaning of the verb atmen (‘to breathe’) is adjusted. But why does the verb receive a different meaning? We assume that there must be some kind of metaphorical conflict.

This workshop is concerned with the different types of conflicts that lead to metaphorical readings. We hypothesize that a thorough investigation of the underlying conflicts sheds light upon larger questions metaphor research has been struggling with: how to model the ambiguity of metaphors from a formal semantic point of view, and how to properly distinguish between metaphorical and literal readings.

We invite contributions from various linguistic fields, as well as from philosophy, literary studies, rhetoric, theology and other language-related fields.

The workshop is especially concerned with (but not restricted to) the following questions:

- What types of conflicts trigger metaphorical readings?
- How can we model the ambiguity of metaphors from a formal semantic point of view?
- How can we distinguish between metaphorical and literal readings? Are there distinct (metaphorical and literal) readings at all, or can we rather speak of a continuum?
- What aspects studied in other fields should be included into a formal analysis of metaphor? (e.g. How can we combine a formal analysis with aesthetic and rhetorical functions?)
- In how far can other fields profit from a formal semantic analysis of metaphor?

Conference Web-Site: