Theorists’ and practitioners’ spatial metaphors for argumentation: A corpus-based approach

Posted on 14 July 12

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Goodwin, Jean, and Viviana Cortes. “Theorists’ and Practitioners’ Spatial Metaphors for Argumentation:  A Corpus-Based Approach.” Verbum 23, no. 1 (2011): 163-78.

We compare spatial metaphors for argumentation used by theorists with those used by practitioners as represented in discourse collected in four diverse corpora. Theorists and practitioners share a few metaphors — most notably, POINT and BASE. Their use of other spatial metaphors, however, suggest substantial diffe- rences in interests and focus. Theorists’ metaphors are concerned with relationships among an argument’s parts (e.g., the way a premise SUPPORTS a conclusion, or a conclusion FOLLOWS from a premise). Practitioners’ metaphors by contrast express the relationships of speakers to their arguments and each other (e.g., a speaker takes a POSITION, or SUPPORTS the position of another). These differences in focus suggest that theorists and practitioners do have much to learn through dialogue with each other.

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